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STUDIES 

IN 

INDIAN RURAL ECONOMICS 


BY 

S. KESAVA IYENGAR, 

Professor of Economies, H, E, H. The Nizam's College, 
Hyderabad (Dn.), INDIA; For some time Economic 
Survey Officer with the Governiae^ of Mysore, 

0 — i-v 

Published in Great\Bintaii^ 
by 

^P. S. KING & SON, LTD. 
Orchard House, 2-4, Great Smith Street, Westminster. 
LONDON S. W. 


1927.- 


15 SHILLINGS 


RUPEES EIGHT. 


iii 

PREFACE 

The chapters on Indian Rural Economies contained in this 
volume, have been remodelled upon a series of articles contri- 
buted by the author over the past one year to the columns of 
the Statesman, the Times of India, the Pioneer, the Indian Daily 
Mail', the Mysore Vnivprsify Ma(jai\nc, and the Hindu, 
A good bulk of the material was collected in 
the course of the Economic Survey of the Mysore ]\Ialnad; and 
while purely local matters referred to or dealt with in his 
Report to the Government of IMysore have been eschewed, the 
possibilities of putting in the hands of the Indian and the 
British public and the student world a concise volume com- 
prising his main findings and suggestions on rural matters (so 
kin(Jly -emphasised by Sir Albion Rajkumar Banerji, lately 
the Dewan of Mysore) have been attempted by the author in 
the^^ pages. The views expressed here are wholly from the 
anirersity study room (though based upon firsthand investi- 
gations on the spot) and it may be clearly stated in the very 
opening paragraph that no sort of comment is meant on any 
of the Governments in India. The author would feel amply 
rewarded if this little book should induce Indians and the 
world at large to* think more seriously of the rural side of 
Indian life, if our rural 'economic conditions shoilld find more 
attention at the hands of our Universities and Legislatures. 

The Punjab has led the way — thanks to the untiring 
efforts of pioneers like Messrs. Darling, Galvcrt and Myles — 
in making available scientific pen-portarits of rural life of that 
part of the country, and on the basis of the Punjab publi- 
cations and his own investigations the author believes that, 
numerous as the superficial differences are as among the rural 
tracts in the different provinces and States, the Indian ryot's 
present condition is fundamentally the same over almost the 
whole of the country. 

It is not possible to adequately express the debt the author 
ow^es the Government of His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore 
on account of the invaluable moral support given by them 
(quite apart from the very liberal material grants made by them 


iv 


of the requirements of the Economic Survey) to the cause of 
social advancement : it is the bare truth to say that in the Mysore 
State — as in many another part of India — the Government is 
strenuously and laudably trying to lead public opinion along 
the path towards maximum social welfare. 

In their No C 1-50 Sany. 17-26-1 dated October 11, 1926, 
the Government of Slysoie have passed orders on three of the 
suggestions made, namel3% the inauguration of district land 
mortgage banks, the enacting of an Agriculturists' Relief Act 
and the institution ol a Eecord of Land Rights. It is earnestly 
hoped that very soon they will find it possible to take up more 
of the mctisuies proposed (on the basis of the Economic Survey) 
for the augmentation oL' social VvclL'aie. 

Thanks are due to the concerned Journals for having 
kindly permitted the author to utilise the special articles pub- 
lished in their respective columns, for the purpose of this 
book. Medical examination in connection with the Economic 
Survey, was conducted by Messrs. M. Rama Rao, L.M. & S., 
and Basil L. D 'Costa, L. M. & S., Assistant Surgeons, Mysore 
Medical Service ; and in the study of agricultural processes and 
costs Mr K. Nagappiah of the Mysore Agricultural Service 
was of much help. To these officers with whom the author 
had the privilege of working but a short time, his warm ack- 
nowledgements are hereby made. Messrs. Mahomed Mir Khan, 
B.A., (of the Hyderabad Civil Service) and N. G. Muthanna 
(of the Junior, B.A., class) took considerable pains in scru- 
tinising the proof slips: to them, and s]>ecially to Mr. K. 
Burnett, M.A., (Oxon:), Principal of the Nizam's College, for 
so kindly going through the final proofs, the author is grateful. 

S.KESAVA IYENGAR 

Department of Economics, 
H. E. H. The Nizam's College, 
January 15, 1927; 



V 

ILLUSTRATIONS. 

1. A Well-kept Malnad Garden Frontispiece. 

2. A Governmeat Well in the Malaad Facing page 21* 

3. An Indigenous Type of Agricultural 

Labourer in the Mysore Mahiad • . Facing page 121 . 

4. A Below— Ghat Type of Coolie Woman 

with her Child Facing page 127 . 


Correction Slip« 

"STUDIES IN INDIAN RURAL ECONOMICS" 

Page 74, line 6, omit the last two words " to Britain''. 

S. Kjesava Iyengar. 


The Nizam's College, Hyderabad (Dn.)? 
August 6, 1927. 


Ti 

CONTENTS. 


Chaijter Pages. 
I ECONOMIC EMQUIRY 1-8 
The VisTesvaraya Committee's Eeport . . 1-5 
The Bombay Chamber's Memorandum . . 5-8 

11 RURAL ECONOMIC SURVEYS 9-18 

The Necessity of Correct Data 9-12 

How they Should be Carried out . . . , 12-15 

Agency and Methods of Work , , , . 15-18 

III AGRICULTURAL HOLDINGS J ^^-^'^ 

Importance of Underground Water . .• / . . 19-21 

Causes for Excessive FraigmentatioGr- • . 22-25 

How to Avoid Excessive Fragmentation . . 25-29 
Land Revenue Assessment- -The Todhnnter 

Committee's Proposal 29-33 

Incidence of Land Revenue Assessment. . . 33-37 

IV AGRICULTURE AND FUTURE POLICY 38-56 

E-ural Progress in India . . . . . . 38-41 

Shall we Produce to Exjort ? . . . . 42-45 

Science and Indian Agriculture . , . . 45-49 
Agriculture a nd In dustr3^ : comparative 

Advantages 49-52 

S urplus " Cattle to be Dispensed Avith % 52-56 

V FORESTS 57-64 

Indian Forest Problems . . . . . . 57-59 

Forest Management and Indian Agriculture 69-64 

VI TRANSPORT 65 72 

[Importance of Rural Transport . . . . 65-67 

'How Improvements should be Possible . . 68-72 

Vn TRADE 73-81 

External Trade of India 73-76 

Trade in Rural Tracts 76-81 


v5i 


Chapter Pages. 

VIII CAPITAL 82-97 

-Indian Capital Needs 82-85 

y Enral Indebtedness in India . . . . 85-88 

The Punjab Eegulation of Accounts Act. . . 88-92 

^^/Ijand Mortgage Banks 92 97 

IX EURAL LIPE IN INDIA 98-1X2 

Censn? of India, 1921 98-103 

Standard of Lif e in R-iralJ [p.dia . . . . 103-108 

Life among Uiitcuchables. . . .. 108-112 

X LABOUR 113 132 

Greater ladia ! 113-116 

Agricultural Tenants 116-121 

Mysore Planters and Estate Coolies .. 12L125 

Agricultural Wages in India . . . . 125-128 

Urgency for Legislation 128-132 

XI EDUCATION 133-150 

Need for Reform 183-137 

Secondary Education : Some Suggestions 137-146 
Unemployment in Lidia : Functions of the 

University 146-151 

XII RURAL RECONSTRUCTION 151-161 

How the Problem Arose 151-153 

Mysore Leads 153-157 

The Mysore Village Pauchayat Act. . . . 157-161 


viii 


APPENDICES. 

Pages. 

I The Processes of Cultivation and Average Ex- 
penses of Production, and Yield of Impor- 
tant Malnad Products. 1-8 

Paddy Cultivation 
Areca Cultivation 
Cofee Cultivation 
Cardamon Cultivation 

II Area under Crops and Specification of Crops 

during 1922-2.% in li Malnad Taluks 9 

TII Average Prices of Important Malnad Products 

during the past Twenty Years Annually , . 10 

IV Details of Areca Trade Transactions .. 11 

V Malnad Population Figures . . . . . . 12 

VI Thirthahally Sub. Registry Office Kgi^res 13 

VJI Manjarabad Sub-Pegistry Office Figures . . 14 

VIII SvUabus for a Course of Ten Lectures on Rural 

Economic Conditions 15-18 

IX Report on Economic Conditions in tlie Malnad, 
submitted to the Government of Mysore — 
Extract from 18-28 

X Draft Bye-Laws for District Land Mortgage 
Banks (extracted from the Report of the 1925 
Committee on Malnad Improvement) . . 29-34 


CHAPTER L 

ECONOMIC ENQUIRY, 


The Visvesvaraya Committee's Report. 

The Visvesvaraya Committee have done a great 
service to the country by affirming that the evolution 
of a suitable policy in economic matters does require 
a scientific collection and compilation of data. All 
sorts of explanations and interpretations have been 
given for rural conditions in India, real and ima- 
gined, and the matter of fact is that more disservice 
than service is being done by such writings to the 
cause of economic progress in this country. Prof. 
Burnett Hurst and the Indian members really differ, 
not with regard to the necessity for economic investi- 
gations: but with regard to the machinery and 
organisation to be employed for collec- 
tion of statistics and the kind of statistics to be col- 
lected. This dijfference appears to be the result of 
an omission on the part of the Committee: having 
undertaken the responsibility for suggesting proce- 
dure the Committee ought to have taken up some one 
urban and some one rural area and spent some of 
their time in studjing actual conditions and current 
methods of collecting statistics, and in attempting 
verification of Government returns here and there by 
'first-hand investigation. At any rate, a rural area 
ought to have been taken up by them — ^not for an 
exhaustive survey but to appreciate the 
actual tendencies and metho'ds, because mere evi- 
dence offered by witnesses could have taken them no 
further into the problem than any other student de- 
pending upon printed literature and hearsay: with 
regard to urban returns it is probable that some of 
the members were closely familiar with the proce- 
dure adopted with regard to returns dealing with 


2 


sucH areas. For instance, Sir M. Visvesvaraya and 
Pandit Kaul think that figures with regard to crop 
reporting, etc., are fairly accurate: Mr. Burnett 
Hurst thinks that the existing data on such heads are 
useless because they are highly unreliable. Personal 
experience during an Economic Survey in Mysore 
leads to supporting Mr. Burnett Hurst's view. 

The majority say that wherever there is a sub- 
ordinate revenue agency for the compilation of agri- 
cultural statistics no other agency can be usefully 
substituted for it* There seems to be more reason in 
the opposite opinion held by the secretary : my stu- 
dies lead me to believe that while the co-operation 
of all departments alike should be invited, the Reve- 
nue Department should have nothing to do directly 
with the collection of economic statistics. - 

One aspect of the subject which does not seem 
to have been given sufficient attention to is that a 
common standard should not be applied to urban and 
rural areas while judging upon or drawing infer- 
ences from figures with regard to them — ^leave alone 
the entire inadvisability of comparing Indian figures 
with Western or American figures. In some 
respects ISIature assists and in others she op- 
poses man's economic well-being in rural India, and 
this to a much greater degree than in towns. There- 
fore, collective income translated into money terms 
ought to be estimated for both villages and towns 
before arriving at jper capita figures. And then, eco- 
nomic welfare depends not merely upon income per 
capita (even derived after taking into account col- 
lective income) as such, but upon its relation to the 
cost of living. 

The Committee recommend that the Indian 
States should be invited to inaugurate similar in- 
quiries and to furnish the information to the Central 
Director of Statistics. This is a point on which the 


3 

Oovemment of India as well as the Committee 'do not 
seem to have realised the true necessities of the 
country. Economic statistics have no politics about 
them, and the aim of all parties in getting at them 
is to understand the status quo in order to be able to 
proceed further confidently. If the necessity for 
'economic investigations in British India is accepted, 
the necessity for the same in Indian States cannot be 
denied. And for the sake of the welfare of the 
<30untry as a whole it is the bare duty of the Govern- 
ment of India to arrange for enquires in all parts of 
India if they are going to have any enquiry at alL 
They have done it with regard to the decennial Cen- 
sus of population, and they can do it with regard to 
other economic statistics. We are not concerned 
here with the way in which such enquiries should be 
made to be held in all Indian States, but the serious 
-dangers arising out of mistaking the part for the 
whole cannot be exaggerated. Let us take agricul- 
tural statistics. There is a separate volume issued 
^s for ^^some Indian States'' covering 58 per cent, 
of the area of all the States put together. And then 
the Director adds in the body of the returns that out 
of this 58 per cent, about a half does not send any 
returns on account of its being jagir, zamindari, 
-samusthan or something of that sort. Thus the sta- 
tistics, in their unscientific condition, deal only with 
"28 per cent, of the area of Indian States. Yet in all 
literature on agriculture in India the more general 
figures quoted are of British India only (^^ India'' 
heing talked of all the time), and less often the frac- 
tional figures for the States also are included. To 
repeat my criticism with greater stress, ^ ^British" 
India is all right in politics, but in economics the time 
lias come when the Government of India should no 
longer content themselves with this sort of artificial 
distinction between British and Indian India. 

Production of the country" — ^How are you going to 
gauge it imless every State and estate sends up its 


4 

figures? You can never expect every State to res- 
pond to your rather expensive and often awkward. 
invitation.'' 

While on certain muior points Professor Bur- 
nett Hurst appears to me to know more about rural 
conditions here and difficulties in gaugiug them, the 
psychology underlying his general attitude seems to^ 
me to be a pessimistic one. Progress of a society in 
several directions is always reciprocal: progress in 
one acts on that in another and vice ver$a.. 
But the Professor wants a change in the 
attitude of the people before taking to any- 
thing like an economic survey as carried on in 
England. His opinion that people are suspicious 
about any enquiry and their illiteracy does not allow 
them to appreciate the importance of such investiga- 
tions and to co-operate in making them accurate and 
successful, does not seem to me to be correct. In 
Mysore I surveyed intensively nine villages and 
extensively three Districts : the people of the locality 
were said to be backward and uncivilised. Yet 1 
found the people quite intelligent enough to under- 
stand their own interest when explained. Out of 
nearly six hundred families which I examined in 
detail with regard to health, debts, income, expendi- 
ture, etc., etc., only one man was sullen even after 
explanations, but he came round on further persua- 
sion: several heads of families came up to my tent 
two or three days after giving their figures in their 
respective houses, in order to rectify mistakes they 
had committed in omitting this or that item. Pro- 
vided an approach is made properly^ I do not think 
any obstacle will be placed in the way of figures with 
regard to family budget, etc., by the average house- 
holder in India. Professor Burnett Hurst argTies, 
and rightly, that it will serve no purpose to compare 
Indian figures with Western or American figures in 
econom\g, matters, but it is hard to follow his further 
inference from this that on this score an economic- 


5 

enquiry of a more or less complete sort is not an im- 
mediate necessity. We want figures to' compare our 
social and economic conditions, not necessarily with, 
"those in other countries, but certainly with our re- 
cent past and our present on the numerous issues 
touching our economic welfare. Other diffi- 
culties there are: this is a continent, not 
.a, country : conditions vary categorically in many 
respects. Yet, the magnitude of the prob- 
lem should lead to more care being bes- 
towed on it, not its neglect nor postponement. One 
important suggestion I would give the Government 
of India is that the scheme recommended by the Pre- 
sident and Pandit Kaul should first be introduced in 
a Division, say of three average-sized Districts, and 
i^ried for, say, two years in each Province and big 
State. By tiie end of the period each of the States 
or the Provincial Governments would have much 
more definite ground to proceed upon than at pre- 
sent. This suggestion has perhaps the additional 
advantage of meeting the opposition of those who 
•do not want the inauguration of a huge and cum- 
"brous hierarchy for a definite purpose but with un- 
defined methods and jurisdiction. 

The Boml)ay Chamber^ s Memorandum 

A novice at cycling almost always leaves tHe 
■foroad high road helplessly and tries to negotiate ruts 
^a,nd sands. To keep his balance on the rough 
ground he pedals hard; lest he should bump or col- 
lide against anybody he normally holds the 
brakes tight. What comes out of it all? — a slovenly 
progress, a disproportionate waste of energy and an 
-eternal anxiety about managing to keep on the sad- 
^e. The Government of India seems to be having 
not a dis-similar experience in trying to run the ma- 
<2hinery of progress. Over the last three years they 
liave been so busy appointing Committees about, not 


6 

on, 'different important subjects just as the novice 
cyclist discusses in his mind the trammels and tra- 
vails of bad roads, or rather, the bad parts of roads. 
Is it advisable to help the development of an Indian 
mercantile marine, to think of modifying our present 
tax system, to import external capital, to make pro- 
vision for a more scientific collection of economic 
data, to reform the currency system ? Land revenue 
was excluded from the purview of the Todhunter 
Committee, land tenure has been excluded from the 
terms of reference of the Agricultural Commission. 
It is very difficult to find any other country where so 
much money and energy and time is spent upon in- 
vestigations to find out the veracity of axiomatic 
truths, with such a sophisticated kind of question- 
naires* If only the India Government had instead 
appointed Committees to directly suggest definite 
ways and means for realising this or that reform, our 
progress should have been much more substantial. 

The memorandum put up by the Bombay Cham- 
ber of Commerce on the Economic Enquiry Com- 
mittee Report (published nearly a year ago) is a 
product full well soaked in reactionary pessimism — 
thus far reads very iiiuch like a typical Government 
of India resolution. The population is heterogeneous,, 
illiterate, hostile and suspicious; the cost would be 
too high: therefore, ^^an economic servey on a 
comprehensive scale is beyond the range of practical 
politics at the present stage of Indian development/^ 
The Chamber would like us to wait till there came 
about a change over the whole population in these 
respects. This is exactly a beat — about-the-bush 
policy* The Indian population is heterogeneous, but 
it is hard to see how this could come in the way of 
collecting economic statistics. The majority as well 
^^s Mr. Burnett Hurst have suggested the formation 
of Provincial Bureaus, and it would be the business 
of each such Bureau to take account of 
local peculiarities. Illiteracy is largely pre- 


7 

valent, but at the worst it might im- 
pede, not stultify, an economic investigation. 
Take for example the census of India: defective as 
the data collected in that connection are, that docu- 
ment constitutes the most important reference work 
available for knowing something of the India popu- 
lation. Illiteracy does not mean duUness, specially 
in India, and provided you put up a suitable agency, 
the task of collecting economic data should present 
no serious difl&culty. Hostility and suspicion there 
is not in the comitry. The Bombay Chamber based 
its opinion in this respect very probably on urban 
conditions: the spirit of individual liberty, an off- 
spring from the contact with Western forms and 
notions, has not yet permeated our villages so far. 
An intelligent appeal to the patriotism of villagers 
brings astonishing results: people will not only give 
their respective details, but will go round with you 
over the whole village in order to ensure that correct 
information . is given by all. The thing is 
that opinion as to the ease or difficulty of ('onii)iling 
economic data should be worth having only from 
those who have had some opportunity to do that kind 
of work: in other cases people would have naturally 
to draw upon their imagination. 

In an attempt to eradicate disease, diagnosis is 
the most important work, and when trying to im- 
prove a nation's welfare an adequate^ and 
correct knowledge of the people's economic 
conditions must be of invaluable help in prescribing 
policies. If anybody says that on account of the big 
cost involved such a knowledge may be dispensed 
with, it merely means that too low an estimate is 
made of the value of economic statistics. Our taxes 
and our disbursements are now almost all based upon 
'mamul', and any slight lifting of the curtain, any 
first-hand investigation, will disclose huge injustices 
involved in the process of distribution. 


8 


To crown all, tlie Bombay Chamber wants re- 
form at the top, a directorate of statistics to be es- 
tablished at the Imperial Capital. A knowledge of 
the actual processes through which the present 
figures emanate, must persuade any one to see that 
reform, if any, is most urgently needed at the lower 
rungs of the ladder. Reform at the head may bring 
us a better classification, a more intelligent analysis 
and so on, but the reliability of the data will not be a 
whit improved. Sir M. Visvesvaraya's scheme after 
all costs about half a crore per year for the whole of 
British India, and at least as a halfway house it un- 
doubtedly deserves being given a trial. The Agri- 
cultural Commission ought to devote a chapter of 
their Report to this all important subject of rural 
statistics, and if only the Govermnent of India co- 
operate loyally, it must be confidently hoped that the 
Visvesvaraya scheme will prove not only workable 
but also beneficial — and this in spite of sceptics and 
cynics. 


CHAPTER 11. 


RURAL ECONOMIC SURVEYS. 


The Necessity of Correct Data. 

There is coming on a slow realisation of the fact 
that economic data in this country are the most vital 
yet the most neglected. People have been and 
are busy with policies economic and political 
and numerous opinions empirically formed 
have been taken for granted and used just as 
if they were established truths. The available 
few facts and figures having any bearing on 
the economic side of Indian life, almost all 
<!oncern city or town society and deal with matters 
<3ommercial or industrial or financial. That India 
has been and is mainly agricultural is known to 
everybody, but little is known about Indian agricul- 
ture as it is carried on in the plains, and valleys and 
on the hills of India, the difficulties and disadvan- 
tages which the ryots have to face, the size of the 
yield of the land and its distribution, the health and 
disease, the joys and sorrows, of the agricultural 
classes. Economic evolution, if any, has been pro- 
^eeeding from the pinnacle to the foundations, and 
when either the Government or the politicians speak 
of the ^ ^people of India they ordinarily mean the 
politically minded classes, the merchant princes, the 
big zamindars and the towns-people. The danger 
involved in this mistaking a part for the whole, can- 
not be exaggerated: the fact that India, if she is any- 
thing at aU, is wholly rural (large and magnificent 
as our railways and factories are, they dwindle into 
nothing when compared to the size of the factors of 
production employed in our agriculture) has yet to 
Become known to many an economist and statesman, 
and the (only) way for such a realisation of truth is 


10 

to unravel important facts of our rural regions, that 
is, we must have rural economic surveys in all parts 
of India^ 

In fact, the extent to which erroneous state-- 
ments about Indian economic conditions are accept- 
ed as current coin by the public, University students, 
the Councils and sometimes by Grovemment, is as- 
tonishing, and seriously depresses any student of 
Indian economics who has had an opportimity to lift 
the curtain and study life around the hearths and in 
the homes of Indian villages. Two statements made 
by leading economists should serve as typical instan- 
ces. In his ' ' Study of Indian Economics ^ ^ Dr. Pra- 
mathamah Banerji writes: ^^In agriculture the law 
of Diminishing Returns applies with full effect. In 
manufactures the effect of that law is often more 
than counterbalanced by the law of Increasing Re- 
turns The profits of manufacture are higher 

than those of agriculture The production of 

wealth being larger in a manufacturing country it is 
capable of supporting a more numerous population 
than an agricultural country.'' A detailed criticism 
of this sort of ^^made easy'' Economics cannot be 
imdertaken here, but one wonders how such argu- 
ments fit in with our contemporary world where in- 
dustry is all round in a depressed condition and agri-^ 
cultural prices have soared high. That an indus- 
trial country could maintain a larger population 
(proportionately speaking) than an agricultural, 
coimtry is a pre-war idea based upon the European 
capitalistic system and the principles of distribution 
which held good then. It is the agriculturist that 
grows corn and tends cattle and it is corn and meat 
that must support any population. If before the 
iWar there was more plenty of these things in Europe 
than in Canada and Australia or Russia, it was be- 
cause of Europe having succeeded in bringing about 
an unnatural system of international exchanges and. 


n 

in securing unreasonably high rates of remuneration 
for her manipulating and middleman work. 

Professor C. J. Hamilton of Patna compares^ 
the birth-rate in India which is about 45 per mille 
with that in England and Wales which is about 25.4 
per mille, and after discussing the numerous factors 
which tend to encourage and check the birth-rate in 
this country, concludes: ^^To my mind it is an ele- 
mentary truth that whatever improvement may be 
wrought in the economic welfare of India by better 
methods of cultivation, or by irrigation, by relief 
from indebtedness, by improved transport or by in- 
dustrial expansion, a large proportion of the people 
will be condenmed to a state of poverty so long as the 
tendency for the population to expand at the present 
rate continues.'' This is inevitably the opinion of 
an English mind on unfamiliar Indian con- 
ditions. The poverty or affluence of income 
of the masses of a people depends ulti- 
mately, not upon the birth-rate nor the death- 
rate, but upon the productivity of the soil, the 
natural resources of the country, the fairness or 
otherwise of the division of the national income 
among indigenous and foreign factors of produc- 
tion. Professor Hamilton thinks that whatever 
might be done to increase the national income, that 
increase would be more than offset by the increase in 
the size of the population. This merely means that, 
in the absence of facts and figures about rural India^ 
he instinctively imagines that natural resources in 
this country have been as much exhausted and impo- 
verished as in England. But, to any one who has 
had a scientific glimpse of any rural region in India 
it must have been the most prominent part of the 
scene that agricultural potentialities were still practi- 
cally limitless and the ryot had not utilised them on 
account of poverty 'of man-power. 

Such instances of incorrect data or misapplica- 
tion of theory are not uncommon in a good many 


12 


publications on economic topics, and the time has 
now come, when Indian economics ought not to he 
left aside by the public at large as a Hechnicar sub- 
ject, but seriously taken to: '^know thyself is to- 
day a dictum more important in the economic than in 
the religious life of the country. 

How tJiey should he carried out. 

How should rural economic surveys be conduct- 
ed? The Indian Economic Enquiry Committee 
held investigations on this question* The usual me- 
thod adopted by such Enquiry Committees is to issue 
a standardised questionnaire, to take the evidence of 
persons known to be interested in the concerned sub- 
ject or to have done some work or research therein, 
to arrive at inferences on that basis (and wherever 
possible on the basis of official records) and then to 
make recommendations for adoption by Government. 
But in the matter of rural economics the immense 
'diversity in crops, methods, climatic conditions, the 
wealth and income of the masses, their debts, etc., 
makes it practically impossible to think of an aver- 
age for the whole country, and even if it were pos- 
sible arithmetically it could not be of any value in as- 
sisting the evolution of policy. As a matter of fact 
it has been generally recognised by now that econo- 
mic investigation is a subject necessarily provincial 
in character, to be arranged for by Provincial Gov- 
•ernments. And in so far as British Indian Provin- 
<3es have been of their present areas and contents 
mostly as a result of political developments 
than of geographical conditions, even Pro- 
vinces cannot be taken up each as a unit. 
Similar conditions with regard to items like 
the relief of land, the size and duration of the rain-, 
fall, tiie kinds of soils, the castes or tribes inhabiting 
the region, crops, etc., seem to be possible, and im 
many cases prevalent, in territories within a district 
or three or four districts contiguously located: the 


13 

Tanjore District is more or less wholly a paddy; 
growing area, South Canara is a coastal plain with 
one climate all over, the Berars constitute the cot- 
ton valley, the Doab region in the Punjab is an irri- 
gated area, and so on. It was mainly for this reason 
that the Grovernment of Mysore recently directed and 
financed an Economic Survey of only three Districts 
(Shimoga, Kadur and Hassan) adjoining the West- 
ern Ghats on the East — a region called the Mabiad 
with closely resembling conditions with regard to 
physical and social features- 
Cheapness was specially kept in view by some 
who said that if only we should improve the forms 
which were being used for Elhanecumari accounts, if 
only the village records and accounts (like the 
Births and Deaths Registers, the khatha patti, the 
pahani etc.) should be improved and the agency that 
collected the information be trained and made more 
efficient, we should then have before us all the data 
we wanted in a fairly thorough mamier. The fallacy 
in this proposal lies in that the thing that is absent 
and has been responsible for necessitating economic 
surveys as such, namely an efficient agency and a 
good system, has been assumed as easily possible 
if not already present. The day when our village 
officers will realise the vital importance of the vital 
statistics they keep is certainly not in the near 
future, and a metamorphosis in their outlooks and 
ideals must mean a metamorphosis in the nation's 
life. Perhaps a better scale of payment to village 
officers will mean that these will take more interest 
in the matter of statistics, but any such improvement 
is beyond practical politics; a pie's increase in the 
shanbhog^s or kulJcarni^s p.otigi will mean several 
lakhs more of expenditure to Govermnent. 

second proposal is that the revenue officer 
in each District or Sub-division should conduct an 
economic survey of his district. The close touch 


14 

that officer has with all parts of his sub-division 
should prove a great facility for arriving at truth, 
and it is not at all surprising that I.C-S., men 
like Moreland, Jack and Keatinge did such valuable 
pioneering work in the study of rural conditions. 
Still in actual working, a revenue officer entrusted 
with economic investigation is bound to meet some 
serious difficulties. At the very outset mention may 
be made of the generally biassed nature of his mind 
in regard to such matters, obsessed by the humdrum 
details of everyday administration; by training and 
perhaps by temperament he is a sceptic, even a 
scoffer at ideas of improvement/^ Whatever is 
best administered is best'^ quotes he, and secretly — 
almost helplessly — argues that his is the best ad- 
ministration. In most cases he would not accept the 
position that his administration of the district was 
practically capable of improvement. If he found 
something wrong, he would explain it away or try to 
;set it right by the pimitive process rather than try 
to understand the cause for it. When to a revenue 
officer I complained that my investigations showed 
that generally applications by ryots for changing de- 
markation lines wrongly depriving them of the pri- 
^lege of a minimum space between cultivated field 
and State forest, took years to be disposed of by the 
authorities, he coolly replied that such things should 
not be hurried and ought to take their own time. 
Secondly, there is the consideration that he is an 
officer of Government, and he knows as others know 
that he ought to loyally support Grovemment in all 
matters ; his survey'' would have to be not a picture 
of truth as such, but truth so far as it was safe for 
the investigator to let out; no revenue officer would, 
nor could, risk his future by saying truths unpleasant 
to G-overnment, and even the most democratic Gov- 
ernment does not want all truths to be said in matters 
economic. Even a publication like India in 1922- 
23,'' by Prof. Rushbrook Williams has been awarded 


15 

a general reservation by tHe Government of India: 
^^It must not be understood that approval either of 
the Secertary of State or of the Government of /India 
•extends to every particular expression of opinion. 

And then, he is the officer to fix land revenue 
assessment, to assess the tax on incomes, and in some 
parts of India to investigate illicit distillation or illi- 
eit sale of liquor* Any amoimt of persuasion by 
hdm would not enable the rustic to give otit the truth 
with regard to the yield of his land, the size of his 
income or the degree of intemperence in his neigh- 
bourhood: he is the sarkqri man, and the conserva- 
tive ryot in nine cases out of ten mutters, perhaps 
rightly, to himself and his neighbours: ^ ^Better not 
have anything to do with that .man.'' ITor has he 
the necessary amount of sympathy and imagination, 
his finer feelings having been generally deadened by 
his familiarity with misery and social injustice ob- 
taining in his range. 

^Agency and Methods of Work. 

One method of making a survey is to appoint a 
■special agency to do the work; in this case it would 
be an economic expert with suitable staff to assist 
him in gauging the health of the population, in 
studying agricultural processes and needs, in esti- 
matmg the actual and possible facilities for trans- 
port of men and goods, in adding and averaging 
figures collected. This was the course adopted by 
the Government of Mysore in their recent Malnad 
Economic Survey. On requisition they deputed 
for service a doctor and an agricultural ins- 
pector and appointed the necessary number of 
typists and clerks and peons. They also gave other 
supplies like tents, carpets, etc. 

In this arrangement, the first few weeks would 
have to be spent by the Special Officer in meander- 
ing through his area and the available literature on 


16 


it, getting a rough, knowledge of the nature of the- 
problems to be handled, and framing his Detailed 
Heads of Enquiry. If he were not a native of the 
land the environment would be new to him and it 
would cost considerable e&ort and attention 'on his 
part to ensure a correct grasp thereof. Such time- 
so spent, though apparently a waste, would be a ne- 
cessary part — an important part — of the Survey, 
and he who would grudge to pay the piper had better 
not think 'of having the Surveys at all. 

For, these surveys to be conducted by economists 
specially deputed for the purpose will involve some 
expenditure, but cheaper ways of doing the work 
with equal efficiency do not seem to be possible. Why 
not patriots do this work in every part of the coun- 
try? It is ordinarily difficult if not impossible to 
find a patriot with the student temper, the right tem- 
per for research — ^for the search of truth as such 
without any thought of fear or favour ; and then, the 
work involved in a rural economic survey would re- 
quire a steadfast maintenance of one's vigour and 
patience: very hard work most often uncogenial to 
the delicate physique of the intellectual or the poli- 
tician must be done, and long hours must be spent in 
rain and smi in roaming over hills and valleys : an 
economic investigation can by no means be done or 
undertaken in a holiday spirit, nor as a piece of 
hobby. 

About thirty weeks and Rs. 15,000 should ordi- 
narily be sufficient for the purposes of an intelligent 
Survey of a region. Suppose the area comprises 
three districts. Three villages typical of different 
parts in each district should be sufficient (in all, 
nine) for intensive investigations — Chouse to house 
examination of health, disease, debts, budgets, food 
and drink, tanks, wells, crops, etc. Villages with 
about 50 families or population between 250 and 300 
would be convenient, and could be covered each in 
about 10 days. Thus 90 days would be required for 


17 

the intensive study, about 20 days for journeying 
from village to village and the 'other 100 days would 
he required to do the extensive investigation work 
with regard to raads, trade, etc., to collect as much 
official information as possi]3le and available, and to 
examine experienced persons representing different 
classes of the population. The expenditure would 
be about Rs. 1,000 a month on the economist and an- 
other Rs. 1,000 a month on his staff. 

Two or three more things to be said about such 
Rural Economic Surveys are that the expenditure 
should be borne, in the nature of things, by local 
bodies, secondly that the results of such Surveys 
should be automatically given publicity without any 
consideration for expediency or policy, and thirdly, 
that in the area concerned Government must make it 
obligatory on the part of officers and officials to take 
the work each might have to do in connection with 
the Surveys as part of Ms normal duties. From the 
Main Heads catalogued below it can be seen that such 
Surveys are bound to have a good deal to do with 
practically all Provincial Departments, and ex- 
perience has shown that each of such Departments 
would instinctively consider such investigations as 
intrusions into the normal conduct of affairs : the 
agricultural Director would probably recommend to 
the Surveyor that he had better drop Agricultural 
matters from his enquiry because they were too tech- 
nical and complicated, ^^and the Department was 
doing its best to improve matters. " The Director of 
Public Instruction wotild chafe at an outsider ins- 
pecting schools and passing comments and asking 
for information w^hich could not be collected and 
which could not possibly, so far as he could see, 
serve any purpose. The Registrar of Co-operative 
Societies would perhaps be the most aggrieved, for 
if anybody should do the work it would be his men 
under his guidance. The result of all this would be 

2 


IS 


that if Government contented themselves with a 
general solicitation that all Departments may co- 
operate/^ the task of the Economic Sm^vey Oflficex" 
would increase tenfold in difficulty. 

The following are the Main Heads of Enquiry 
which should cover all aspects of human life having 
any bearing on the economic well-being of a rural 
population: — 

Physical character — Greological, Soil, Water^. 
Drainage. 

II. Land — ^Divisions, Holdings, Land Revenue^ 
Land Tenures (Peasant Proprietorship), Debt-bur- 
dened land — special varieties thereof. 

HI. Vegetation — Crops, Cultivation (imple- 
ments, manures etc.) 

IV. Agricultural Stock. 

V. Industries — ^Importan^-e. Methods, Market- 
ing. 

VI. People : — 

(a) Health — Diseases, Mortality, 
Average duration of life — causes for. 

(b) Wealth — ^Income (wages), Expendi- 
ture, Saving (Capacity and tendency). Indebt- 
edness (credit), Religious and Social Features^ 

VII. Education — Kind, Efficiency. 
VIIL Communications. 

IX. Conditions in general in the recent past- 


CHAPTER III. 
AGRICULTURAL HOLDINGS. 


Importance ,of Undergrotmd Water 

The latest report from Simla says that the agri- 
cultural situation in Western Bengal, United 
Provinces, Central Provinces, and Rajputana 
is, unsatisfactory this year, on account of 
the shortage of rain. In the North- 
tWest Frontier Province, and Upper Burma there is 
serious drought which, requires careful handling. In 
South-Eastern Bengal, the jute area is much smaller 
than last year on account of there having been no 
rain at the sowing time, and heavy rains just after 
that, which washed off many small plants. The cala- 
mity caused in Southern India, especially the Tan- 
jore District and Malabar, by heavy rain and floods 
has been an additional source for anxiety, and of 
late the Indus was in high floods causing damage to 
much property. In the State of Hyderabad the 
average rainfall till now has been much lower than 
what should have ordinarily been and from 1329 F. 
we have been having a succession of rainless years. 
There seems to be some mistake somewhere ; seasons 
are not coinciding with men's calculations, and the 
rain-bearing winds appear to be controlled by other 
forces than normal. Have the planets changed their 
orbits ? 

In India, agriculture is the very life of the peo- 
ple. Their joys and sorrows arise or disappear as 
rains come seasonally in proper quantities or not 
The new Development Departments in British India 
and some of the forward Indian States are trying 
to n^eet the situation by putting up dams across 
watercourses, collecting and storing excess flows in 
the rainy season and affording water supply for 
irrigating the lands in the. -neighbourhood. 


20 

Crores of rupees are being spent on 
gigantic schemes like the vSiikkur Barrage^ 
the Sutlej Irrigation Project, and the Nizam 
Sagar. But one important consideration to be re- 
membered in comiection with a forward irrigation 
policy is that larger-scale projects can help only a 
very small percentage of agricultural holdings : it is 
impossible to conceive of irrigation dams in every 
village in India, but every village in India has thou- 
sands of acres of agricultural land which sorely 
need some kind of relief. 

Tank irrigation could be of use to a much larger 
proportion of the population, but two facts take 
aw^ay a great deal from the utility of this means of 
water supply. Firstly, on account of the disorgani- 
sation caused in the transitory stage of the establish- 
ment of British rule in India, many tanks which had 
been for centuries looked after, repaired and main- 
tained by the villagers themselves, fell into disuse, 
and became silted up : as Government became more 
and more centralised, the initiative and independence 
of the villager decayed. The wonderful system of 
small-scale tanks which the Indian villagers had 
built up by working for centuries, has now become 
dismantled, and will require some tens of crores of 
money and a long time to be restored. Secondly, the 
volume of surface water (as distinguished from un- 
derground water) collectable in any area must in- 
evitably depend on the amount of rain in that area. 
Tanks, almost all of them being small scale, cannot 
stand more than one dry year . So that even if our 
tanks are repaired, they will have to keep empty if 
each locality does not get a proper amount of rain- 
fall for two or three years continuously. 

This process of elimination takes us to under- 
ground water. This is not so directly dependent on 
rainfall on the spot. Secondly it does not dry up so 
easily as surface water. Thirdly, it is present al- 



2i 

most everywhere : the only condition for securing it 
is that we should go to that depth where it exists. 
The cost of boring and maintaining wells, the expen- 
ses involved in raising water to the land level — ^these 
are concomitants .to the facility of the ryot getting 
water for his fields. But when we balance the dis- 
advantages and advantages, we must easily see that 
any method of getting w^ater which does not require 
a heavy outlay of capital must be preferred to abso- 
lute helplessness. 

^'Lift Irrigation/^ as this w^ay of finding water 
for crops is called, has been much helped by science. 
There are boring machines which at a cheap cost can 
show at what depth water is available. There are 
various kinds of water pumps that can be worked by 
handpowor, animal power, fuel (wooden) or coal or 
oi] which can with great advantage displace the time 
honoured leathern bags and bullocks. 

At the earlier stages, the expansion of lift irri- 
gation may look difficult. But the State should come 
forward — if for nothing else, at least to ensure the 
maintenance of land revenue at a stationary figure. 
The Agricultural Departments should employ a 
B'oring Expert well-versed in the science of sink- 
ing wells. Every district should be provided with 
a Boring Inspector, and full equipment, and it 
should be made his duty to go from village to tillage, 
and offer his assistance free or at a nominal cost to 
such ryots as wish to take to lift irrigation. Grovern- 
ments should maintain a model farm worked entirely 
on underground water, keep businesslike accounts, 
and show the people that it is worth while seeking 
protection in the bowels of the earth when the sur- 
face of the globe and the heavens have turned un- 
kind. Every State and Province will do well to ap- 
point a Committee to go into this question of utilis- 
ing imder ground w-ater in tracts where rainfall is 
small and uncertain. - ' 


22 


Causes for Excessive Fragmentation. 

Though, the detailled terms of reference do not 
mention this item, the general phrase ^^agricultural 
and rural economy" must and does enable the 
Royal Commission on Agricultural to give due at- 
tention to the present sizes of holdings, the extent to 
which such holdings are scattered, and the ways in 
which the situation in this respect can be improved- 
The waste of time, energy and general resources 
involved in the present condition of fragmentation, 
the damaging effect of this upon the size of the na- 
tional income, has hardly been sufficiently realised 
even in quarters expected to be in the know of things. 
Except in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and small strips 
in South India, the relief of the land has to some 
extent been responsible for the scale of agricultural 
operations being smaller than what it could be other- 
wise; in valleys and on hills stretches 'of land each 
fit for the same kind of cultivation are naturally 
small in area, and in such cases the ryot should be 
helped to hold his bits of land as near to one another 
as topographical conditions permit. 

The custom of partitioning off properties 
among the heirs, which has in recent decades become 
very common, has not only w^eakened each branch 
of the joint family tree but has also brought about 
the more regrettable calamity of each farm as well 
as each house of the deceased being divided into as 
many blocks as there are heirs: in the majority of 
cases, the suspicious and mutually jealous heirs in- 
sist upon having, not shares in the property accord- 
ing to the values of the different constituents thereof, 
but bits in every item of property— lands, houses 
jewek, cash etc.. Sir Reginald H. Craddock writes : 
''The sub-division of lands corrects itself, for the 
superfluous nimabers drop out and seek their liveli- 
hood elsewhere, or the land passes again, owing to 
debt, into the hands of a single holder.'' 


23 

An examination of conditions in the Mysore 
Maliiad shows that while this argument holds true 
in many cases where lands fit for extensive cultiva- 
tion are concerned, the chances of the occupant leav- 
ing in the case of land fit for intensive crops (like 
arecanut, beetel leaves, fruit gardening) are very 
small : in cases of small-scale farming, that is, practi- 
•cally in all cases, cultivation in India is proceeded 
with for subsistence, not for profit, and the cultiva- 
tor refuses to take into accoimt the waste involved in 
Ms tilhng bits of land far off from one another. In 
a comparatively small number of cases small-sized 
farms are due to the very limited means of the new 
occupants who would have got their new acquisitions 
either by darkast to G^overnment or by 
ptirchase from needy ryots. But by far the most 
important cause for the progressive diminution in 
the sizes of farms seems to be the universal ambition 
there is in the minds of agriculturists — small or big 
— ^to occupy as much land as possible, distant or near, 
cultivation or no cultivation. Even in tracts where 
labour supply is poor, irrigation facilities absent or 
Ms own resources small, the average landowner loses 
no opportunity to acquire more and more land: a bit 
here, a bit there, another bit in the next village — ^the 
accumulation goes on like this so that when the sons 
of the acquirer have to agree to a partition the feat 
will not at all be an easy one. Imperfect as the agri- 
cultural statistics are, the size of current fallows in 
India (47,070,000 acres in British India, 13635,000 
acres in Indian States, respectively 7.1 per cent, and 
10.2 per cent, of the total area of land) will give an 
idea of the powerfuMess of tMs inclination on the 
part of the agricultural population. 

Revenue records from wMch are made up the 
^^agricultural statistics'' of this country are far from 
the reality in the matter of the sizes of holdings. 
In ordinary revenue language, a holding is 


24 


generally taken as the sr]Ton3'm for lands com- 
prising a ^'khatlia/' but really the khathaclar is the 
man whom G-overnment holds responsible for land 
revenue due from the \vhole khatlia^ and nothing 
more necessarily. In the vast majority of eases the 
khathadar owns only a j)ortion of the lands shown 
in thc^ katha. Partition, sale, resignation, eharity^ 
and several other causers bring about an ever chang- 
ing series of changes in ownership of land. And the 
village aecoimtant lives in blissful ignorance of such 
changes in all Provinces where the village records are 
basecl upon the usual survey maps prepared hy the 
Revenue Survey and Settlement officers. With regard 
to payment of land revenue helping the determina- 
tion of occupancy rights, it happens that in innumer- 
able cases where the lancUiolders are debtors hy 
habit, th(^. moneylenders jray the land revenue dues 
of their debtors. In the case of some kinds of tenan- 
cies partaking of a permanent interest in the land, 
it is the tenant that pays the revcame and 'jiot the 
occupant. In some special kinds of kmdholding like 
scvmsrlshia and jautilxluillia (in the first case the 
owners of land divide the yield according to an 
agreed scale but do not know the locality or the 
boundaries of thei]' respective holdings, in the latter 
case the khatlia stands in the name of two persons 
instead of one), the confusion is worse confounded. 
To-crown all, new khathas were issued over the last 
several decades, wherein the landed yjroperties of tho 
applicants were childbed together in accounts — one 
khatlia for the lands of one person — though their 
lands were located in different parts of the village. 
Latterly such khathas were divided in ownershix) on 
account of ];)artition, sale, etc: 

• The Season and Crop Reports issued by the dif- 
ferent Provinces annually, show classifications of 
holdings according to extent and of holders accord- 
ing to the am'ount of revenue paid. A reliance on 


25 

these Tables for drawing inferences must lead to 
gross fallacies ; for by a holding is meant in these 
Tables the lands comprising a khatha. In the Mj^sore 
Malnad the miter came across quite a large number 
of civil disputes which were ultimately traceable to 
the present system of entries in village re- 
cords with regard to land-holding. The draw- 
ing up of an accurate and thorough Record of Land 
Rights (insistence on any change in occupancy of 
land finding correct entry, in such a Record, follow- 
ing as a corollary) — as has been done in the Bombay 
Province — should be a huge reform to realise over 
the length and breadth of this country, but an equal- 
ly efficient means for knowing the exact extent of 
fragmentation of holdings is not conceivable. By 
this reform civil litigation would materially de- 
crease, collection of land revenue dues would become 
much easier for Government, inflicting no injustice^ 
on an}^ party. The great facility such a Record 
would afford for the inauguration and working of 
land mortgage banks should remove perhaps the big- 
gest stumbling block in the way of officers and com- 
mittees entrusted with the flotation and expansion of 
such banks in different parts of the country, 

Hoic to avoid excessive Fragmentation. 

In x>ractically all countries the basic evil of 
exc-L^ssive fragmentation has been felt at some time 
or other, and success in eradicating the evil has ge- 
nerally been dependent upon the influence of agri- 
cultural leaders and the forward policy of the gov- 
ernment concerned. Agriculture has never been 
possible economically without enclosure, and enclo- 
sure has been practically useful only where there has 
been a methodical consolidation. The cost of erect- 
ing and maintaining good fences' around munerous 
small bits of land held by the same ryot in far off lo- 
calities, would be too high for the slender resources 
of the occupant. No statistics have been maintained 


26 


ill my part of India to give a rough idea of the 
damage done to agriculture by stray cattle, and the 
actual loss incurred by the ryot is much more than 
he himself realises. To give one instance, in an area 
where the general custom is one crop a year (wet or 
dry), no individual cultivator can possibly think of 
a second crop unless he can count upon a stout and 
tall fence, when in the surrounding area there is no 
standing crop, cattle freely wander about in search 
of food, and a second crop on any plot must inevit- 
ably be victimised sooner or later. And there are 
not even a sufficient number of cattle pounds in any 
part of this country. 

Sentimental attachment of the ryot to his parti- 
cular plots seems to be a piece of urban imagination 
on rural matters. Backward as the Indian popula- 
tion is in other respects, the writer's direct 
touch with cultivators in the Malnad — a 
wholly rural area — ^showed that they did not lack 
in commonsense.j Agricultural land changes hands 
much sooner than is ordinarily imagined 
and in the vast majority of cases plots 
of land do not nowadays continue in 
the same family from generation to genera- 
tion. Thus there is not much objection to one newly 
acquired plot giving place to another in contiguity 
(or in close proximity) to one^s remaining plot or 
plots. What the average ryot really fears is that in 
the process of general re-adjustment of holdings in 
his village, he might lose by getting less fertile or 
less valuable land than before, or he might have to 
submit himself to innumerable and vexatious impo- 
sitions in order to ensure for himself f airplay and 
no favour at the hands of the Revenue officials who 
would be charged with this onerous' responsibi- 
lity. Frankly speaking, the Survey and Settle- 
ment and Revenue departments are generallv 
looked upon with awe and terror by the middling and 


27 

small holders on account of the heavy though illegal 
tributes they have to pay when such departments 
visit their respective villages. In the vernaculars 
there are any number of ballads describing the cala- 
mity of a visit by them. 

"By attempting to please everybody you please 
nobody'^; in attempting to provide consolidated 
blocks of land to every landholder in a village the 
settlement ojSBicer or the panchayat will very probab- 
ly displease everybody, so say the sceptics. It is 
held by them that no adjudging authority can rival 
the occupant in ascertaining accurately the advan- 
tages^n joyed by, and the fertility vested in, his plot; 
and as such, injustices are bound to arise. Specifi- 
cally, a ditch across, a hillock near by, the village 
dwellings too near to, — such considerations do count 
in the ryot^s eyes, but they can never be taken note of 
by any assessors in general. Why then create un- 
necessary discontentment and heart-burning? 

In five villages in different parts of the MaMad, 
the writer studied the actual locality of the lands of 
31 average ryots. An attempt was made to see if 
hypothetical prescriptions could be made for the con- 
solidation of the plots of land held by each of them, 
without any material inconvenience or loss to any 
holders. In a few cases single blocks could not be 
provided on account of the contour and nature of 
lands adjacent: but even in these, two blocks very 
near each other were possible. When asked how 
they would like the new holdings mapped out for 
each, aU the 31 ryots expressed not only a readiness 
but an eagerness to have the change made. When 
tried on a large scale it is possible that scientific jus- 
tice may not be uniformly securable, but this limita- 
tion applies to aU awards of this world. The real 
point is that the ryot will have to balance in his mind 
the certain advantages he wiU derive on account of 


rs 

consolidation and the possible disadvantages and 
losses (which must at any rate be much less) and see 
which weighs heavier. 

The idea of the village ^^panch'' doing the whole 
thing does not seem to be practicable : in almost all 
villages the old self-governing institutions are no 
longer there : they decayed on account of numerous 
causes and gave . place to Government rule 
through the several departments. If on the 
score of bringing about a consolidation of holdings 
a ^^panch'' should be set up, or one with defunct ex- 
istence should be invested with this heavy responsi- 
bility, the mass of opinion would not feel confident. 
In the Punjab the Co-operative Department is re- 
ported to have achieved some tangible results in this 
direction through co-operative societies worked by 
committees, that is, panchayats. But an examina- 
tion of social conditions in the Maliiad leads the mi- 
ter to believe that the best agency to 
begin with would be a special officer 
working under the authority of a legislative 
act, assisted by local committees wherever possible. 
Once the average ryot sees that a readjustment o.f 
oecupany rights with a view to consolidate the hold- 
ings of each ryot in a village, does bring about ma- 
terial economic advantages, the task becomes much 
less difficult : the initiative will naturally be taken by 
the ryots themselves, and they - can proceed either 
through the Co-operative Department or through le- 
gislation and executive action thereunder, as local 
conditions warrant. • 

Lastly, for consolidation work to have perma.- 
nent results it is necessary that some change must be 
made in the Hindu and Mahomedan laws of heredity.. 
>Some recommend that the law of priimogeniture 
must be miiversalised by legislation ; but Hindu and 
Mahomedan ideals of justice (as among^ 
the offspring of the propertied ancestor) do not 


29 


seem to admit. of such a eategmical change. The 
only way out of the difficulty appears to be this : lo- 
cal Govermiients should fix by rule (say, once in 
thirty years) the minimum sizes of wet, garden, dry 
and special crop holdings, and where the question 
of dividing a holding into smaller bits 
than prescribed arises it should be laid 
down by law that the occupancy rights should 
vest in the first-born son (with the usual exceptions) 
while at ilie same time other heirs do continue to 
possess civil rights over the respective ^^hissas'' 
(shares) of the net jdeld of the holding. In such an 
arrangement the eldest son would be the farm mana- 
ger by law, the other heirs having no claim for dis- 
integrating the holding but entitled to the (iorrfes- 
j)onding shares of the net yield. Yet in the cases 
of big estates fragmentation must be allowed the pre- 
sent scope in the general interests of the country 
though not on agricultural considerations. 

Lavd Eevenme Assessment. 

The TodJmnter Committee's Proposal. 

There has been a go'od deal of controversy on 
the question ^^Is land revenue a tax?'' Though the 
Taxation Enquiry Committee have favoured the im- 
position of a progressive tax on agricultural mcomes 
and of death duties all round, they have refrained 
from a categorical expression of opinion on this 
point. They say that ''since it forms a deduction 
from the national dividend it should be taken iiito 
consideration in dealing with the question of the in- 
cidence of taxation on the country as a whole.'' But 
the Committee have failed to meet this argument : as 
the use of agricultural land by a part of the popula- 
tion amoimts to the employment of a national asset, 
not for the direct benefit of all, the occupants of 
agricultural land must make some contribution for 
the advantage of the public at large, and this in its 


30 


very nature cannot constitute a tax. A clear-cut 
opinion on this controversy by them might have 
been of great value to economic theorists. 

In their proposal for modifying the principle on 
which land revenue is assessed, they indirectly admit 
that land revenue should be a reasonable fraction 
of the economic renf of land — ^what they call 
*'antLual \alue'' This proposal by the Committee 
should be welcomed by students of Indian jSnance^ 
not so much on accoimt of its effects on the elasticity 
of this head of receipts, but more on account of the 
fact that a re-assessment of agricultural land 
throughout the length and breadth of the country 
on this basis will almost certainly increase the size 
of land revenue collections (at the same time making 
the charge upon different lands and different crops 
much more rational). A study of ,early Survey and 
Settlement Reports by pioneers like Mr. Pringle, 
Lieutenant Wingate, Mr. Goldsmith and Major J. W. 
M. Anderson will show that, even from the very be- 
ginning, the land revenue system as re-organised by 
the British Government in India had some consider- 
able and practical tests for gauging the ability of the 
occupant to pay. But while they paid more or less 
sufficient attention to (1) the kind of crop, (2) the 
depth and texture of the soil and (3) the average 
annual rainfall, the following other, more import- 
ant, items were hardly given due con- 
sideration to by them: (1) the healthiness or 
otherwise of the concerned area; (2) 
communication facilities (on which alone depends 
the elasticity of the supply of labour in response to 
'demand conditions) ; (3) the condition of the local 
population with regard to agricultural enterprise, 
and (4) the availability of capital for providing for 
the different processes of agriculture and trade. 
Even the Taxation Enquiry Committee have not gone 
far enough in this direction; the "25 per cent of the 


31 


annual value'' suggestion is very goodj but the an- 
nual value is much more affected by the latter four 
items than by the three others mentioned above. 

The mention of a few facts and figures to show 
how far the prevalent land revenue system is from 
what it ought to be on somid principles, may in- 
terest the general reader. In the Mysore State, the 
Mahiad (consisting of the Shimoga, Kadur and Has- 
san Districts) is a tract where climatic conditions are 
uncongenial: man must spend there much more 
upon his food, clothing and housing than in other 
parts of the State, if he should not lose in health. 
The land is on the whole^ hilly and therefore roads 
are very costly to make and quick to be damaged on 
account of torrents of rain and flood during the mon- 
soon season : no railway pierces the territory. The 
aU-eonsmning money lender is all in all, serfdom 
largely prevails for the reason that enterprise and 
capital facilities are monopolised by a very few. 
The Crovermnent of Mysore found that agriculture in 
the Mahiad was decaying, and since 1913 have spent 
more than Rs. 10 lakhs on Malnad improvement. 
While this expenditure on special hospitals and 
schools (and to a minor extent on roads) redounds 
to the credit of that Government's enlightened policy, 
it is strange that hardly any importance has been at- 
tached to the cry of the local population for a re- 
duction in the rates of land revenue assessment. (It 
is true that the Grovernment of Mysore very recently 
ordered some slight reductions in the assessment 
rates on garden lands, but this had no special re- 
ference to the Malnad). A comparison of rates 
shows that in the case of paddy and arecanut assess- 
ment in the Mahiad is larger per average acre than 
in the Maidan — ^the healthy part of the State. The 
reason for this heavier assessment is plain: the rain- 
fall is heavier and surer in the Mahiad, the land is 
more fertile. Still the annual value of agricultural 


land ill general is much smaller than it ouglit 
to be, on account of factors not taken note of by the 
settlement officers. In this same tract, foreign capi- 
tal and enterprise have taken to special crops like 
coffee and tea, and in these eases assessment mi land 
works out at a specially low rate. 

The anomalous and empirical condition of the 
present land revenue system, the urgency for a quick 
adoption of some measures of reform like the 25 per 
<^ent. rate, will become patent from the following 
figures arrived at during the economic survey of the 
Malnad. 


1 2 3 4 5 6 





c8 o 




"1 


o 

Crop. 

ge toti 
id per 

ore. 

ge tot 
aditur 


age ne 
d per 

c 

o -B 

ore. 




< 

5 o 

d 
o 


<! 

Aver 
sessn 


Per c 


Es. 

A. 

Rs. 

A. 

Es. 

A. 

Es. 

A. 


Paddy 

74 

8 

59 


15 

0 

5 

0 

33.3 

Arecaunt . . 

200 

0 

152 

1 

47 

15 

15 

0 

30.13 

Coifee 

200 

0 

SO 

0 

120 

0 

1 

8 

1.25 

Cardamon . . 

160 

0 

75 

0 

85 

0 

1 

8 

1. 11 


(Owing to a sharp but j)ermaneiit rise in price 
recently, the assessment on cardamon works at a 
low figure. In the ease of coffee a good bit due to en- 
terprise must be deducted from net yield in order to 
arrive at annual value). 


The hardships caused to the poor cultivators on 
account of the absence of a flat rate or anything like 
it, must be plain from these figures. Of course, the 
fact of a high rate of assessment being in vogue is 
itself a powerful argument in favour of letting it 
alone (because the enhancement of rates in other 
<:ases on accomit of reduction in some would involve 
much more disturbance of the public mind), but it 


33 

is the dutj' of the new Provincial Legislative Coun- 
cils to face the risk of temporary inconvenience to 
isome classes of landiiolders in order to render the 
charge upon the others more equitable. Tenants and 
small landholders have no proper representation on 
these Councils yet (except through nomination by 
Govei-nment) and it seems as if the reform proposed 
by the Todhunter Committee will have to be piloted 
through these popular bodies by courageous states- 
men in the different Provinces ; at any rate, there 
Jias not been as yet any instance worth mentioning 
whe3*e the landed majorities in the Coimcils showed 
any inclination to facilitate the position of their 
poorer brethren on the land which must inevitably 
mean their own preparedness to shell out a bit more 
than bef 03'e. 

Incidence of Land Revenue Assessment. 

•'Land is very unevenly assessed'^ the Bombay 
Land Revenue Committee say with regard to condi- 
tions prevailing in that Province: this observation 
applies to all parts of the country. In an 
article published in The Times of India of March 5, 
1926. the writer showed how the proportion between 
the net yield from land and assessment thereon 
varied very widely in the eases of paddy, arecaiiut, 
eardamon and coffee. The local legislative control 
proposed by the Madras Bill and the setting up of 
a mixed Advisory Committee suggested by the 
Bombay Land Revenue Comr/iittee, amonnt to 
a radical departure from the present procedure, and 
due consideration must be given to the question as 
to whether such a change would be for the better. 
Apart from actual practice Cthere is said to be much 
corruption among the lower staffs of settlement 
officers), the provision made for de+^^iled first-hand 
examination of the lands by the settlement officer, 

3 


34 

the precaution insisting upon final sanction by the 
highest governmental authoritj^, and the opportuni- 
ties to landholders for representing grievances (if 
any) involved in the settlement officer's decisions — 
this shows that subjection of the system to non-tech- 
nical committees or councils is a step involving, 
serious impediments in the way of efficient adminis- 
tration. 

Rather, the cause for ;:uch a considerable lack 
of equity in assessment on land appears to be the 
fact that, in determining the "annual value" (as the 
Taxation Enquiry Committee correctly denominate 
it) of land, not all the contributory elements are 
taken into consideration, and the considered items; 
are not correctly ascertained. For instance, the land 
revenue rules speak of '^rental value''. This has to 
be estimated on the basis of actual rents paid over 
a number of preceding years. A fact of prime 
importance is that, in iiiral tracts general ly^ 
competitive conditions do not x>^^"^^il either as 
among the rent-payers or as between the rent-paying 
and the rent-receiving classes. Therefore in effect 
there necessarily arises a difference, very often a 
big difference, between "annuar' and " rental 
value. Rents paid over the five preceding years (ex- 
cluding all abnormal years) are considered while 
assessing the rental value. Here again there is a 
defect. A succession of normal and abnormal 
years in irregular rotation is the normal 
feature of Indian agriculture generally, and if the 
settlement officer leaves abnormal years out of 
account, he ipso facto ignores a normal causal factor. 
Again, five years is too small a period to be taken 
as a basis for calculation: in different parts of the 
country several good years have contiguously 
succeeded one another some rimes, a number of lean 
years have similarly gone together in some other 
eases. This means that at least a period of ten years 


35 


preceding — ^normal as well as abnormal — should be 
taken up for calculation of rental values. 

^^Proximity of markets'' has to be understood 
in a quite different sense from the urban interpreta- 
tion. In the majority of cases the distance between 
a village and the neighbouring town is short as the 
crow flies, but on account of uneven relief of the 
land, interruption by rivers or brooks or the 
monsoon rains, the cost of transhipment of produce 
is much more prohibitive than is ordinaiily imagin- 
ed; Transport facilities'' would be perhaps a more 
correct test than '^proximity of markets". While 
judging the trend of prices" the settlement officer 
generally has access to capitalist prices at which 
outsiders buy agricultural produce. This leads to a 
miscalculation unfavourable to the landholder. To 
the latter, prices" connote the rates at which he 
disposes of (or rather which he is credited with) his 
goods to local moneylenders to whom he is indebted- 
And these rates are really much lower than the 
published or quoted prices- It is the occupant of 
land that has to pay the assessment and so it stands 
to reason that prices reali-^ed by him (not by the 
ciapitalist moneylender or trader) should be 
ascertained by the settlement officer. In the Mysore 
Malnad it was found that the urban prices of 
arecanut and cardamon in 1925 were on the average 
Rs. 14 and Rs. 105 per maund (24 lbs.) while the 
rural prices (realised by the growers) w^ere about 
Rs. 10 and Rs. 75 respectively. (In the ease of 
cardamon the bleaching process costs a small 
amount — ^not more than Rs. 2 per mamid — and this 
is borne by the urban seller, the agriculturist selling 
xmbleached cardamon). 

Results of crop experiments" reveal only the 
potentialities of the soil, not its actual yield. And 
the factor to be considered in this connection is the 
€xtent to which the element of enterprise effectively 


36 


operates. In the ease of crops like coffee, tea and 
rubber, lands otherwwise barren are made to yield 
heavy returns: remove the enterprise working 
thereon, the land cannot l^ear any assessment; at 
any rate, odcupancy rights will surely be resigned, ; 

Climatic conditions, labour supply, irrigational 
facilities — these, apart from the depth and texture 
of the soil, do enormously affect the annual value, 
yet at present land revenue authorities consider 
only the last item, and that partially. At the Madras 
Economic Conference Prof. Myles of the 
Punjab. University gave interesting figure^ 
to show how an average acre of land 
without canal water jdelded about Rs. 45 
worth of wheat whereas ono with canal water yield- 
ed V7heat worth more than Rs. 80 ; yet the additional 
charge upon the landholder was only Rs. 5. 

Two reforms appear desirable in this vitally 
important' task of land revenue assessment. Firstly, 
land revenue must be made a head of receipts for 
local bodies. This might look ahnost revolutionary^ 
but such a reform is warraiited by considerations 
national welfare: rural development" requires, 
crores more of annual expenditure: no additional 
local taxation can bring in any amount near the 
required sums for several decades to come. In the 
present financial organisation the loc^al bodies a.re 
starved: the Central Government has fat heads like 
customs, income-tax and railways, the Provincial 
Governments get substantial income from excise, 
forests, stamps, etc., they are now claiming portions, 
of customs revenues and income-tax ; but the district 
boards and municipalities have no solid and reliable 
item to depend upon: Government grants are 
sporadic .'and meagre. Retrenchment, progressive 
Indianisation and an intelMgeni^ adjustment of the 
sizes of central and provincial taxes must make' it 
not only possible but easy to give up land revenue 


37 

(16 per cent, of the central and proTincial receipts 
put together) to local bodies which could be then 
reasonably entrusted with more functions* Such a 
step would, the settlement officer then becoming a 
local fund officer, facilitate due consideration being 
given to local and current conditions instead of a 
single formula governing the entire land revenue 
settlement of the country. 

Secondly, the ranks of settlement officers 
'should be recruited from among trained economics 
men generally, the present practice of entrusting 
any and every civilian with the task being largely 
responsible for the existing wiae disparities in the 
incidence of assessment. Getting at the truth in such 
a complex environment as Indian rural conditions 
Is a hard job, and requires a scientific training for 
investigation of the undercurrents and cross- 
currents in the rural waters. The Agricultural 
Commission would perhaps do well to consider these 
suggestions carefully. 


CHAPTER IV. 
AaRICULTURE AND FUTURE POITCY. 


Rural Progress in India. 
Not the Same Thing as Increased Outturn. 

Does increased agricultural production mean for 
this country under the present conditions an addition 
to rural welfare in any way corresponding to heavier 
yields 1 If the two things are not quite identical, 
which must be more prominently kept before itself 
hy the Agricultural Commission? On a re- 
cent occasion Lord Irwin gave at Simla what might 
be called his first public pronouncement on Indian 
agriculture, and in his summary of the directions in 
which reform is needed, this agriculturist-adminisr 
trator laid special stress on the urgency for the appli- 
cation of scientific knowledge to agricultural produc- 
tion : he also observed that the world at large was 
directly interested in the increase of food and raw 
material exports from India, both from the produ- 
cers^ and from the consumers' points of view. The 
Viceroy expressed a doubt as to whether progress of 
the agricultural classes had been in line with that in 
other avenues of production: if it had not been so, 
it was necessary to investigate the causes for the com- 
parative backwardness. The address as it stands 
seems to attach the greatest importance to better con- 
trol of the powerful yet wayward energies of nature. 

But Indian conditions are peculiar: what the 
Viceroy said does certainly hold good with regard 
to a country like England, but in this country the 
few first-hand investigations conducted till now show 
that, magnificent as are the possibilities of addition 
to the present agricultural production, the 
most urgent reform needed lies in pro- 


39 


Tiding l)etter, more humane conditions of 
"work and remuneration to agricultural workers! 
Bentham's ''greatest good of the greatest number' ' 
would bring about much more good as an ideal than 
any attempt at maximum production. This fact is, 
unfortunately, not recognised in circles of weighty 
opinion; compare for example the stand made by 
Professor Hamilton at the Madras Conference of 
-economists that further capitalisation of agriculture 
was the most desirable improvement in the economic 
organisation of the country. Many of the men in the 
affair take consolation in not having authoritative 
presentation of data with regard to the quota of na- 
tional income which falls to the share of cultivators. 
We are not concerned here with the absentee landlord 
who is a pure rent receiver as such, nor with the 
middling landholder who secures a fair competence 
though at a niggardly rate, but with those millions 
of small cultivators owning small bits of land and 
tilling the soil at the margin, more often below the 
margin. We are much more concerned about those 
millions of landless agricultural labourers who can- 
not expect to become cultivating owners even in the 
course of four generations in spite of so many him- 
dreds of millions of acres of unoccupied cultivable 
land — thanks to the oligarchical spirit of the local 
zamindars and the complexity of the governmental 
machinery. 

Lala Lajpat Rai said the bare truth in the Geneva 
Labour Conference when he deplored the prevalence 
of forced labour even in British India. The High 
Commissioner of India of course challenged the truth 
of the charge at least in British India, but we are 
4af raid Sir Atul would not have ventured to do so, had 
the session of the Conference been in India itself: 
there would have been any amount of facility for 
Xiala Lajpat Rai to take the optimistic .knight to the . 
very spots where forced labour was employed to the 


42 


SJiaJl We Produce to Export"^ 

liord Irwin's pronoimeemeiit on the agricultural 
situation and the directions in which reforms should 
be prescribed by the Agiicutural Commission, offero 
much food for thought just now wiien the business 
of the Commission is being determined and arranged 
for. We would like to deal with two points in His 
Excellency's Address. First, Lord Irwin wants a 
marked improvement in the quality aaid quantity of 
our agricultural outturu '^as it has become essential 
to the maintenance of our commercial position. 
The Viceroy also referred to considerations of finan- 
cial betterment and economic welfare of the 71 per 
cent of the population, but in order of importances 
India's commercial j^osition appears to have been 
given the first place: ''India has to bear in mind the 
possibility of organised competition from otlicr 
quarters in certain lines of supply where she now 
meets a part of woild demand and receives a substan- 
tial income in return.'' The Statesman echoes the 
same opinion when it says that one of the two big 
tasks before the Agricultural Commission and other 
bodies interested, is ''to convince the intelligence of 
the country that it is a good thing to feed markets 
abroad with Indian produce and to take goods that 
India requires in exchange.'' Now, it is essential to 
remember that, small as the land's produce is (com- 
pared to the potentialities), crores worth of food 
material is every year finding its way to foreign mar- 
kets, while famine and high prices have become a nor- 
mality seriously affecting the welfare of one part of 
the country or another. As matters stand in India* 
it is true to a large extent that commercial emulation 
in lands beyond the seas and economic welfare of the 
masses — these do not mean the same thing — to a 
large degree stand in relations of inverse ratio- 

The idea of foreign trade in surplus produce Is 
all right, but owing to the peculiar conditions of this 


43 

<30Uiitry, our ignorance, po^'-erty and industrial backT 
wardness, our export trade, specially of foodstuffs 
IS being maintained at the expense of the health and 
comfort of the producers — the masses. Ambition 
for swollen-up foreign trade figures (resulting from 
a capture of foreign markets) it was that led the 
Western countries to their present hardly enviable 
conditions: look at the Lancashire mills reducing 
tJieir scale of operations! When the War was de- 
clared the whole world full well saw the serious dis- 
advaiijages of over-dependence for essential commo- 
dities on foreign lands: Great Britain had no sugar 
for years: India had to reduce her clothing on ac- 
count of shortage in supply and a conse- 
quent rise in the price of cotton cloth. It was be- 
cause of the hardships caused at the time that the 
Government of India hastened the appointment of 
the Holland Commission. So soon as 1926, 
shall we be right in forgetting the lessons of the last 
war and attempt at a vicious policy of economic im- 
perialism? If woiid demand comes to be met from 
other sources than Indian, it should be considered as 
a matter for congratulation, because thereby the jeo- 
pardy to the world's economic welfare will be lessen- 
ed. Our straight aim should be to raise the local 
average level of comfort by securing more abundant 
food and clothing from local sources: a secondary 
aim might be to dispose of our surplus goods in coun- 
tries where needed. In other words, Indfa might 
become the granary of the world, she might draw off 
to herself all the precious metal of other countries, 
but so long as the present conditions of life of the 
iniral labourers changed for small occupants are 
not materially changed for the better, so 
long she would be gaining the whole 
world but losing her own soul. Look at the fas- 
tidiousness with which advanced Gt)vemments in 
civilised lands guard the standard of living of the 
population from deteriorating; and what has the 


Government of India done so far towards this end ^' 
The Agricultural Commission, to discharge its du- 
ties loyally, must attach supreme importance to tlxe 
welfare of the masses. 

Secondly, the amount of good that the applica- 
tion of science to agxiculture in this comitry call 
bring, appears to be rather exaggerated by Westero 
experts. A fact to be remembered iU- 
this connection is that by far a very higli 
percentage of the rural population are small land- 
holders the exact amount of the excessive fragmen- 
tation being obscure on account of the system of Gov- 
ernments records of landholding in vogue. Implex- 
ments, machinery, large-scale irrigational works, 
utilisation of power, experimentation on crops" and 
diseases, artificial manures and economies in trans- 
p6rt and trade — ^it is in these directions that science 
can expect to help the cause of agriculture; but it 
does not require much thought to see that almost irx 
everyone of these items considerations of the econo- 
mic conditions of the average tiller of the soil, and 
of social welfare, do appear to render the farms of 
this country not quite congenial ground for the re- 
aping of ^ ' scientific ' ' benefits. Improved p] ouglis 
our bulls are too weak to ,draw, steam tractors are 
out of question where the level of the land is uneven' 
and where holdings consist of acres and fractions? 
thereof. Big irrigation works have done, and will 
do, a good deal of service in augmenting our annual 
outiim, but such works by their very nature have to 
be only few and far between. The smallest engine 
for pumping water is much too costly for the so-call-^ 
ed middle class ryot. , Experimentation on crops and 
diseases has done some good and promises to 'da 
much more but the trouble has been till now lack of 
application by the concerned experts. Inoculatiorl 
of domestic animals as a safeguard against many, in- 
fectious diseases, and spraying of areca-nut bunche^^ 


45 

tvith. scientifically prepared lotion in order to prevent 
fhem from rotting on account of heavy continuous 
rain, are instances in point. Artificial manures are 
too costly for the villager, and even in circles where 
the people can afford to hny costly manure, the culti- 
vators have come to realise that there are grave risks 
in using chemical manures, their respective suitabi- 
lity depending upon the physical as Vr'ell as the che- 
mical and bacteriological qualities of the particular 
plot of land. It is only Chile salt- 
petre and ammonium sulphate that are 
k bit popular among the well-to-do ryots, but a 
proper application of such manures presupposes a 
departmental staff which India can hardly hope to 
maintain. And then, how about the facilities for re- 
X^airs and replacement of parts ? No Grovernment in 
India can hope to set up an adequate number of 
worL'sIiops which for several decades cannot be ex- 
pected to maintain themselves. Railways have help- 
i3d, and can help, the export trade, but the ordinary 
tyot wants tough roads for his bullock cart. So that 
what comes out of it all is that given an adequate 
amoimt of capital available to the raer.ucst occupanf*, 
and encouragement to enterprise in order to diven 
its attention to the soil of the country^ a proper uso 
of science will eom.e when times become ripe for sucJQi 
n stage. Rather, the most important vs^ork before the 
Commission lies in effectively providing for the re- 
moval of monopoly, oppression, sweating, and usury,, 
and giving the lowest stratum of society a congenial, 
atmosphere for revival. This requires no science 
in the narrow sense of the term, but penetration to* 
see, and common sense to provide suitable schemes 
and raeasures for attaining the end in veiw. 

Science and Indian Agriculture: 
Where Application is Possible. 

The agricultural conferences we have had re- . 
<^ntly and the personal interest our new Viceroy haa 


been evincing in Indian agriculture have brought to 
the forefront the call for a more effective application 
of science to this basic industry of the country. The 
ryot is generally being accused of ig-norance, a de- 
plorable conservatism and a pitiable fatalism^ 
Our exjDcrts are busy demonstrating the ad- 
vantages of heavier steel-made implements, 
chemical manures, machinery for accessory 
purposes and power for saving labour and quick 
and much more efficient service. The writer had 
several opportunities for translating for the know- 
ledge of lyots many such proposals and suggestions 
for the improvement of cultivation, but as a mle they 
nodded their heads and gravely muttered that tha 
proposers did not understand the ryot's situation 
and did not view things from the ryot viewpoint. 

"What the ryots said came to this. Their envi- 
ronment was practically pre-determined for thcm^ 
and any improvement they could In ake was tliere- 
fore very closely limited in scope. The case of big- 
zamindars was dilferent: such of them who did not 
prefer the sweets of absentee landlordism could by 
all means pioneer, test, and even reap the first- 
fruits : such leadership by the big zamindars would 
impart visual instruction to the ryots much more 
effectively than any demonstration the Departmental 
men could organise; yet the touch between the De- 
partment and the big landholders was thinner than 
that between the ryots and the agricultural officers. 
The central fact of their economic position was that 
they, as a rule, were heavily in debt; and if they 
could not find sufficient means for paying interest 
and part principal year after year, where had they 
to bring the capital from to introduce this or that 
reform? Their bullocks were weak and small, and 
heavy ploughs would mean the killing of the gol- 
den goose. In dry lands, the case of black cotton 
soil is different, deep furrows and brcjad 
slices of soil overturned would mean the escape of 


the little amount of moisture whicli would^ under 
fallow ploughing^ continue in the soil and help -the 
crops* Repairs to modern implements would also 
cost a great deal and skilled knowledge would be 
required in handling the implements* 

The rural population is generally, illiterate, but 
it can hardly be said that they lack in common 
sense and the power of understanding. The utility 
of chemical manures is more than offset by the des- 
truction of some of the good qualities originally pos- 
sessed by the soil in ease the ^ ^physical'' qualities 
of the soil happen to be different from those pre- 
sumed by the dispensing agricultural chemist- In- 
vestigations in the Mysore Malnad (a notable agri- 
cultural tract) showed the writer that in processes 
the ryot did not require any reform, but it was- in 
his general environment. This opinion is support- 
ed by J*. MoUison in his treatise on Indian agricul- 
ture: ^^To those Y\^ho are sceptical. I can show, in 
parts of the Presidency, cultivation by means of in- 
digenous tillage implements which, in respect of 
neatness, thoroughness and profitableness cannot be 
exceeded by the best gardeners or the best farmers- 
in any other part of the world. This statement I 
deliberately make, and I am quite ready to substan- 
tiate it." 

Albeit, there are various matters in which Science 
can help Indian ryots, the boundary line being 
that of the very small scale of operations. Some suc- 
cess has been achieved by our Agricultural Depart- 
ments in this field but the opportunity for doing 
more is practically unlimited. And it must in truth 
be added that more attention this way is urgently 
necessary than in the direction of theoretical propa^ 
ganda, and experimentation not warranted by prac- 
tical problems. Some plant and fruit diseases have 
been encoxmtered by cheap and effective 
:pemedies^ insect pests have been in soma 


48 

ea^es overcome by ^ adding specified chemi- 
cals to the soil, animal husbandry is 
being facilitated by the increasingly popular 
processes of inoculation ag*ainst infectious and con- 
tageous diseases (which are even now carrying away 
millions of cattle annually in this country) and im- 
proved strains are being disseminated by the inain.- 
tenance of touring bulls which are made available 
to the ryois for covering their cows at nominal fees. 
Improved varieties of seed have been evolved in im~ 
poiiant crops like cotton, sugar-cane and wheat, and 
disease-free seed is being distributed in several parts 
of the country at cheap rates. 

In addition to the really vast possibilities in 
such directions, there are other items v/here a gi*eat 
deal remains to be done by Science, like the evolution 
of a formula for the making of an all-ro"und cheap 
manure by the cultivator on his farm; the gi*owing 
scarcity of cattle manure is not a little responsible 
for the x^^>orer crops we are having these days. 
Agricultural industries, like the making of vsl\y 
sugar and the curing of coffee and cardamon, and 
subsidiary ones like poultry farming, silkworm rear- 
ing (wherever possible) and dairy farming, are ave- 
nues along which small scale cultivators can progress, 
to their individual benefit and to that of the country 
as a whole. Here, Science can do a great amount of 
service to national production, if only our scien- 
tists will devote more attention to commercialising 
scientific improvements specially improvised for the 
small scale agriculturist. 

Science, in a broader sense of the word, must be 
able to improve the general environment of the aver- 
age tiller of the soil, by rendering much more effi- 
eient the present arrangements for the construction, 
restoration and maintenance of small tanks, drains 
and roads and bridges in rural tracts. To sum up, 
the satisfactory progress of Indian agriculture re- 


49 

quires not so mucli agricultural research; and experi- 
mentation on Rotltampstead lines (neither large 
scale nor intensive farming in the Ainerican or the 
British sense of the terms is possible here, nor are 
they necessary or desirable) as close examination 
by agricultural engineers and chemists and indus- 
trialists of actual rural conditions and problems with 
a view to apply Science at convenient points for 
rural reconstruction. 

'Agriculhire and Industry: Comparative 
Advantages. 

A statement issued by the Board of Management 
of the Bhadravathi Iron Works, recently, contains 
f afcts and observations which should set those that 
are interested in economic development, athinking. 
Sir M. Visvesaraya was the original promoter of the 
concern as Dewan of Mysore, and he 
is there as Chairman of the Board of 
Management of the Works, now. First sanctioned 
in 1918, the Works were expected to be ready for 
operation by the end of 1919, the original estimate 
of the cost of construction was Rs. 63.59 lakhs; 
but the actual production work began in January^ 
1923, and the &ial estimate of cost rose to Rs. 211 
lakhs, the revised estimate having been Rs. 94 lakhs. 
But for Mr. Perin who came down specially from 
America to set the Works on a working basis the con- 
cern should have been closed down long ago. The 
net losses borne by the Mysore Groverinnent on ac- 
count of the Bhadravathi Works amount to 26.33 
lakhs, and the reason for the Statement's publication 
was the wild rumours afloat with regard to the losing 
character of the concern. After the present Board 
assiuned charge in March, 1923, several improve- 
ments have been made: the daily output of pig iron 
was raised from 30 to 57 tons, Indian staff was train ^ 
ed for many important posts, the last three months' 

4 


50 


production has been all sold off, machinery for wood 
distillation and a pipe foundry have been installed 
and are expected to yield additional incomes from 
next year, and the highgrade charcoal iron produced 
is having a good reception in the market. The causes 
attributed by the Board for the past sad tale ar^e- 
high costs at which machinery was purchased, lack 
of proper supervision and control, change of design 
without proper sanction and undue delay in the com- 
pletion of the Works. The iron industry is in a very 
depressed condition all over the world, and the Board 
observe that the loss borne by the Government might 
be reckoned as a subsidy given to the industry 
which is the very foundation of our industrial civi- 
lisation,'': another suggestion made is to write down 
the capital against wMch there are at present no as- 
sets. Hopes are, however, held out ttiat the worst 
period is over and that hereafter, with better prices 
for iron, lower costs, larger receipts on account of 
subsidiary industries, the Works may prove finan- 
cially successful. 

Bhadravathi is on the borderlands of the Mal- 
nad, and Malnad Improvement has been on men's 
lips for over twelve years : it was the same engineer- 
statesman that gave an oflSicial recognition to the 
growing backwardness of the Malnad and set apart 
special fimds for Malnad Improvement": since 
1913 over ten lakhs have been spent on this head. 
This hilly tract is famous for its agricultural resour- 
ces (the important crops being paddy, carda- 
mon, coffee, arecanut, pepper, etc.), and ^^improve- 
ment" of the tract must really mean better use of 
such resources by the people of the tract for their 
own benefit and for that of the whole State generally. 
Yet in two respects the policy inaugurated by Sir M. 
yisvesvaraya was not followed up imiformly; mea- 
sures adopted or institutions set up were not given 
sufficient time for operation : half done things were 


51 

given up for fresh schemes. Secondly, grants made 
were far from adequate and were frittered over three 
districts instead of being concentrated for effective 
use. And to-day, except for some good wells supply- 
ing healthy drinking water to the neighbouring po- 
pulation and a few hospitals, there is hardly any- 
thing the authorities can show in the shape of im- 
provement. 

Now, the half a milii'on population of the Malnad 
require a more facile supply of capital, a resident la- 
bour population, better transport facilities, experi- 
ments by agricultural experts for further augment- 
ing the produce of the land; and any one who knows 
the soil resources of the tract must admit that expen- 
diture involved in providing relief to the Malnad po- 
pulation in the above-mentioned respects does cons- 
titute perhaps one of the finest avenues for 
<japital outlay which would not only repay Govern- 
ment in the shape of increased land revenue receipts 
and a more favourable balance of trade, but also by 
materially rendering the half a million lives happier : 
in this case, no dependence on world prices, no for- 
eign enterprise or skilled labour, no competition with 
gigantic rival producing concerns. And 
if only the Mysore Government had made up its 
mind to invest, not 211 lakhs, but a fourth of it in 
starting and working the Malnad Works,'' there 
should have been, not any net loss, but a ten-fold re- 
turning prosperity to the State and people as well. 
The prolonged debates in the local Legislative Coun- 
cil on the few thousand rupees required for 
the Coffee Experimental Farm, the over-too 
elaborate deliberations over the pros and 
eons for starting land mortgage banks 
and the scepticism with which the authorities arc 
viewing proposed and desired institutions for recrui- 
ting labour and facilitating honest trade, stand in 
glaring contrast to the trouble taken, the risk run 
and the results obtained in the Bhadravathi Works. 


We wish to emphasise the moral out of these 
Mysore affairs. Industrialisation is not impossible 
in this country, there are excellent resources for such 
a development ; yet, it is agricultural development 
that has irjiinitely better prospects, and Governments- 
must put forth every' effort to divert 
to that field a good portion 'of available 
amounts of capital and enterprise: the lead 
must be taken by them. In Mysore, if only the 
authorities put up a strong committee with Sir 
yisvesvaraya as Chairman for handling the question 
of Mahiad Improvement, w-e are quite confident thai 
necessary capital will be found in no time and active 
progress will ensue. The results of a thorough- 
going policy in the Malnad would not be in any way 
less satisfactory than those expected in the Punjab 
Canal Colonies. Our argument is not against the 
Bhadravathi Works, but that Government which has 
had the courage and perseverence to pursue the iron 
industry against so many odds, must easily see that 
Malnad Improvement is an item on which they muse 
at least hereafter concentrate their attention and see 
that ''the blast furnace is blown in'\ 

''Surplus'^ Cattle to he Dispensed With? 

There is a section of spei»kers and writers who- 
by conviction or by policy paint Indian economic 
conditions and prospects much darker than could 
justly be done: balance of trade, they make out, is 
unfavourable to India nor nj ally, natural resources 
poor, labour inefficient beyoixl hope, industrial 
development inadvisable, population too numerous. 
The imaginary woes of overpopulation have been 
deplored by Mr. Marten (late Census Commissioner 
with the Government of Indm) and several others. 
Things have not stopped short there: in a recent 
nxnnber of the Round TaUf, a writer condemns the 
veneration in which Indians hold cattle. He 
supports his observation by a quotation from 


53 


the Proceedings of the Board of Agriculture held, 
at Bangalore in 1924, in the course of which 
a member of the; meeting, adopted a remarkably 
strange scale of estimating and held that if India 
should prosper economicaUj, ^Mhe multiplication of 
cattle, should be restricted when it comes into direct 
economic competition with man for the produce of 
the soil, or makes it impossible for him to develop 
it to its full capacity// Calculating that oae ox or 
male buffalo must be able to look after tLe cultiva- 
tion, work of five acres, the member affirmed that 
there were at least sixteen million excess oxen and 
he-buffaloes (after allowing a fair margin for calves 
and old animals) in British India: and calculating 
that every person in India required one lb. of milk 
per day, and one cow must yield five lbs. of milk 
per day and thus meet the imlk requirements of "a 
family consisting of five person^:, he concluded that 
eight and a half million cows there were in excess 
o^'the needs of the population (after taking into 
account the milk contributed by goats, and allowing 
a. fair margin for calves and aged cows). At Rs. 6 
per month per head of such oxen and buffaloes and 
cows (cost of maintenance) the expert arrived at 
an annual loss to the comitry which was at least 
four times the land revenue receipts in British 
India. ^^What other" country on earth pays such a 
staggering price for the veneration of an animal?" 
A novel contribution to Indian Economics, this 
•theorem requires' a careful examination and 
categorical refutation if. necessary: the Round 
Tablets diagnosis will easily be accpeted over, the 
Empire. 

Do men and cattle compete in India with 
regard to foodstuff ? They do in England certainly, 
but in India, except for a comparatively small 
amount of bengal-granr and horse-gram given to 
.cattle in some parts of the country by tlie 


54 


well-to-do, the ordinary food of cattle consists of hay 
and grass, leaf -crops specially grown for the use of 
cattle in the ofE-season, cotton seed, oil-cake and 
sometimes the refuse from distilleries. It is common 
knowledge that human beings in India do not coH- 
siune any of these things and it is difficult to see 
how else the competition between men and cattle 
for food can be substantiated. *^To develop the land 
to its full capacity, if we judge from the actual 
conditions of our ryots, cattle are the chief agency: 
how much of land a ryot can take up for what kind 
of cultivation is largely determined by the 
number of heads of cattle at his service: he wants 
them to lift water, to make and carry manure, to 
pull the plough and the other field implements, to 
thresh the corn, to convey him and his family and 
wares. ^ ^Better'' cattle are wanted. All agree to this^ 
but betterment cannot be realised in a year or even 
a decade: better breeding and feeding must bring 
about a gradual improvement at the best. Shall we 
dispense with the surplus cattle in the mean- 
while? Surely, to have four weak cattle in place of 
a good one is much better than to have two weak 
cattle ! 

Ryots need oxen only in pairs for the yoke, and 
at the calculation quoted above, one pair of oxen 
must be sufficient to supph'' enough power for 
cultivating ten acres. Climatic and seasonal condi- 
tions differ widely from those in EngJand, and 
though theoretically it might be possible to manage 
ten acres with one pair of oxen, any practical 
agriculturist in India would laui^h at the idea. Very 
often, at short notice, the ryot has to finish 
one process or another, and seasons will not wait 
for him : on an optimistic estmiate, a specially good 
pair of bullocks may be expected to manage three 
acres on the average : machinery and powei? help the 
agriculturist at many points in England but not scv 


55 

in India. With regard to milk supply the assump- 
tion of five lbs. per day on the average means that 
the average cow must, according to the expert, 
yield at least ten lbs. (five seers) per 
day in the milching season (about half the time a 
eow must be expected to run dry on aeeoimt 
of calving, etc.). This auain is tdx too high 
an estimate for India. Good ryots and householders 
do not milch their cattle be>ond fifty per cent of 
their capacities, the idea being to leave enough milk 
to the growing calves. 

How about the excessive fragmentation of 
holdings in India? You m^y in^escribe one pair of 
oxen for every ten acres, but will every ten or 
twenty ryots co-operate in maintaining one good 
pair of oxen? Knowledge of rural organisation in 
India must convince anybody of the reasonableness 
of every cultivator, however small his holding or 
tenancy might be, having at least one pair of 
bullocks. And the exact degree of fragmentation is 
not known to all, thanks to the absence of a Record 
of Land Rights (except in Bomoay), and Govern- 
ment statistics based upon khatJias. 

Still another reason for ryots not ordinarily 
preferring costly cattle is lack of capital. It would 
not be good finance for the poor, or even 
the middle class, ryot to invest his all m one or two 
good pairs of bullocks or cows. For the havoc 
committed by cattle diseases is nowadays ominously 
increasing: he woidd much rather lose in bits than 
his all at a jump. 

There are still 232,924,000 acres of cultivable 
yet imcultivated land in this country, but the 
Round Table writer does not include these in his 
calculations. Faced with a very n?sty kind of 
unemployment in urban areas, sliall we not turn to 
these *'fair fields and pastures new'^^f 


56 

Even the weakest head of Qdttle is not all use- 
less: you have the hide and the bone after it is dead^ 
manure when it is living, draught of carts and ghanis 
while it is strong: in fact the uses of cat lie in India 
are so numerous that one reaiembers the vernacular 
poem which compares man with cattle rmd shows 
how cattle are more useful to humanity. Taking into 
consideration all these factors, no ladian would 
agree to the position that there was one single sur- 
plus head of cattle, not required. Gro to Bengal, to 
Mysore, to the extreme south, to the Punjab, you 
hear of the paucity of cows and oxen, fiom people 
on the land. 

The Old Testament has oeen quoted, ^^Man 
should have dominion over th(^. fish of the sea, over 
the fowl of the air, over the cattle and over all the 
earth, and over every creepiig ihmg tlvai, creepeth 
upon the earth. This God~made-the-world-for-me 
standard of morality xmderlies Darwinism and not 
the Hindu conception of the wo.vld and the place 
of Man therein. 

In rural tracts, people complain of scarcity of 
labour: the classical econoraists and the 
bureaucratic I. C. S. men herald to the world a help- 
less overpopulation in India. Cultivators look upon 
their cattle with veneration and want their services 
more and more, their number to increase: here are 
some ultra-experts lecturing to the Roimd Table on 
the desirability of reducing the number of cattle in 
India with a view to increasing Ihe efficiency of the 
rest. When shall we be spaced from such ^ ^friends 
of India''? 


CHAPTER V. 


FORESTS. 

Indian Forest Problems. 

The recently announced competitive examina- 
tion at AUahabad for the selection of two recruits 
lor the Indian Eorest Service is in conformity, with 
the new afforestation and Indianisation policy of 
the Govermnent of India. At present, 103,073,000 
acres are covered by forests in India, and among the 
nnprovements made in the forest management in 
the recent past may be mentioned the prohibition 
of shifting cultivation, the organisation of effective 
fire-protection, the introduction of sylvicultural 
operations, the success obtained by arboriculture, 
the cancellation of the licensing system which had 
promoted indiscriminate destruction of forest assets 
and regulation of grazing by unconditionally closing 
reserved forest areas and regarding them as large 
fodder reserves hi times of scarcity or acute distress 
and permitting the continuance of old grazing 
lights in protected forests under certain conditions 
and control. A matter for hope as such improve- 
ments are, yet it must be said that some 
fundamentally important problems comiected with 
Indian forests have not yet received sufficient atten- 
tion either at the hands of the Grovernments or those 
of the public. At the very outset reference must be 
made to the fact that the curricula laid down in 
Indian Eorest Colleges and the courses recommended 
in foreign lands for Indian students of forestry, are 
not of a kind that would enable the men so trained 
^fco handle local forest problems with skill and 
expedition. Cases are not wanting where • even 
enthusiastic ^^experts'' begin learning things about 
3jidian forests after they assume responsibility for 
this or that Mnd of conservation. It of fen times 
liappens that the local ryot knows more about the 


58 

qualities and requirements of many a tree or plant 
than the ^^jungli sahib/' Much more practical train- 
ing in Indian forests in different parts of the 
country, must enhance the value of the present 
courses enormously. Replantation and supervision 
are yet far from a satisfactory' level of elBficiency. 
Anything like a forest survey has not been under- 
taken. Where forest is virgin and most promising, 
the general attitude of the authorities is that it is 
impossible to penetrate into the area and therefore 
all that can be done is to leave everything to Nature 
in such areas. The amount of forest produce useful 
to man and yet literally rotting in such forest areas 
on account of accumulation and exposure to climatic 
variations, can be realised only by those who have 
had an opportunity to go into such areas. The way 
to improve matters in this direction lies in 
inaugurating an active policy of laying forest roads 
and forest tramways. If forest authorities cannot 
penetrate^' into the forests, there cannot be nmeh 
difference between them and the lay public. Good 
bridle paths, elephant passages, lorry roads and 
tramways must open up our forests before any 
work of sure and continuous development can 
be possible. 

The declaration of arens near by inhabited or 
cultivated localities as reserved forest, has not been 
unknown in recent years. There is a rule that at 
least a hundred yards margin must be left between 
cultivated lands and reserved forest, so thftt the 
ryot might find no trouble by wild animals taking 
shelter in the forest, and facilities for fodder, fuel 
ajQd timber for house-buildmg and for implements 
might be found in the intervening space. Albeit, 
investigations show that rules and concessions are 
n-ot administered in the right spirit, and complaints 
by the few knowing ryots take extraordijiarily long 
for disposal. The setting up of forest panchayate 


59 

for looking after forests in the neighbourhood of 
villages (which must be constituted into village 
forests), and in those distxicts, where the villagers 
have not yet revived their old panchayat sense to 
any extent, the administration of the protected 
forest areas by the Revenue Department, seem to be 
advisable steps. In tracts suitable for the planting 
of coffee, tea, rubber or other similar crops 
the forest authorities do not seem to be pursuing 
quite a constructive policy. The development of our 
forest industries is not even at the infant stage . 
Wood distillation, the manufaciui^e of dj^es, paper, 
matches, pencils, etc., have a practically unlimited 
scope, yet we do not see much progress except weak 
experimental undertakings- JVIinor products of 
forests — ^various kinds of oils, seeds, flowers, etc., 
are all practically going to waste, yet they are being 
sold at very high prices in European markets. We 
want a proper linking up with Em^opean markets 
in this respect, but no one has told us how much 
and of what stuff is available in om^ forests. The 
importation of a first-rate Forest Economist from a 
country like Germany for a period of, say three 
years, woidd immensely assist in prc^erly advertis- 
ing our forest minor products in Germany and 
other industrial lands. We hnA^c among us a large 
number of forest officers with foreign qualifications,, 
but we want one who knovs the European markets 
thoroughly. In the Indian States, in Bombay and 
Burma, forests are under Indian control It is for 
the powers that be to give more effective attention 
to this set of problems and harmoniously conserve 
and utilise the inexhaustible forest resources for the 
welfare of the present population and posterity. 
Forest Management and Indian AgricttlUire. 
Overlooked Claims of tlie Villager. 

Ill the issue of the 8th instant of the Times of 
India a special article appeared on this subject, the 


60 

general trend of which was to run down tHe policy 
of entrusting the management of forests around and 
about villages to village panchayats. These bodies 
are alleged to lack in technical knowledge 
and resources for successfully conserving their 
forest assets, and in a considerable number of 
■eases this responsibility has been withdrawn 
from village forest panchayats and once again 
vested in the revenue department. Still, while 
the past has not been encouraging, it looks 
pessimistic to preclude the possibility of better 
results being achieved in the future, mider better 
auspices. The paragraphs below very briefly 
'describe the situation in the Mysore Malnad — an 
area noted as well for its forest wealth as for the 
richness of its crops. 

Generally speaking — except where forest 
panchayats are operating— forests in the Malnad are 
divided into two classes, State forests and District 
forests. The former category is entirely imder the 
jurisdiction of the Forest Department while the 
latter is in the administrative charge of the Revenue 
Department,; the technical side of preservation and 
classification of trees (into reserved'' and other) 
is, theoretically speaking, the business of the Forest 
officers. Thanks to the new policy of afforestation 
accepted both by the Indian and State Govern- 
ments, special Planning Officers are over the last 
several years being deputed to reconnoitre the land 
outside State forests and find out tracts where the 
percentage of the ^'reserved'' class of trees is so 
high as to justify their being demarked as State 
forest. These special officers naturally work on the 
principle of averaging: any other process is held 
to be impossible: sample blocks are tested and the 
results obtained are presumed to obtain over the 
entire tract surveyed In this process of 
establishing State forests anew, the needs and 


61 

requirements of ryots living near by do not appear 
to have been sufficiently appreciated- 

There is a working rule to the effect that at least 
a hundred yards must be left as a margin between 
agricultural land and State forest boundary line, but 
personal inspection on the spot showeji that in 
several cases this rule had been neglected. The 
forest settlement officers had also not duly 
considered the extent of gomal land (village common 
for the cattle to graze) that was swallowed up by 
the new forest. With the kind of forest mainte- 
nance we are having, the ryot in such areas fibads 
the demarked grounds harbouring numerous kinds 
of wild animals damaging, sometimes ruining his 
crops; yet, he has no right to kill them beyx)nd 
the boundary line, imless he is prepared to be put 
up before a criminal magistrate as having in- 
fringed the Forest Regulation, or unless he is pre- 
pared to silence the forester by offering him a good 
bait. In some cases ryots find their passage from 
farm to farm or from farm to house impeded by 
these new State forests. 

In the district forests, on the other hand, the 
ryot is entitled by law to several privileges and 
concessions, but as a matter of practice these 
privileges are being largely exercised outside the pro- 
cess prescribed by the authorities. For any and 
every kind of use of any forest product, the ryot 
has to apply for and get a mafi (gratis) or a riyayiti 
(concession) licence, but the licence granting 
authority is the Amildar or the Tahsildar of the 
taluk: even the revenue inspector has not got this 
power. But the revenue head of the taluk is such 
a busy official and for so many days on tour that 
the law-abiding ryot would have to wait for months 
and months together before his application for a 
licence was granted: the case of influential and big 
zapaindars is all right because in regard to their 


62 

applications the administration operates fairly 
quickly; and the practically minded small ryot finds 
that the only alternative left to him is to take the law 
into his own hands and utilise materials from dis- 
trict forests for the guarding of which revenue 
authorities are responsible, but only in theory — ^they 
have neither the staff nor the funds necessary for 
the purpose. 

Some special grievances of the ryots require 
early attention. The declaration of areas near by 
inhabited villages as State forest has been only once 
in a way, but as a rule the waste surrounding the 
villages is included in district forest; and the 
absence of facility for the ryot to keep the said 
lands free from rank vegetation and wild under- 
growth, has in innumerable cases been the cause for 
the prevalence of malaria, the scourge of the Malnad. 
Secondly, everybody's property is nobody's 
property, and villagers generally pay little 
heed to the necessity for economical use of 
the district forest materials. For example, the 
ryots want large amounts 'of green leaves for 
the preparation of manure '(by a process 
of allowing it to rot along with cowdung, etc.), 
but where there are no village forest panchayats 
the villagers lop off young plants for the sake of 
leaves (this being the easier means for securing 
leaves) and this policy resorted to by all of them 
has inevitably brought about a denudation of 
district forest areas in the neighbourhood of 
villages; in fact this is the real reason for the in- 
creasing complaint of many villages to the effect 
that the area allowed by Government to serve as 
soppinabetta (waste land for the collection of green 
leaves— a marked off section in district forest area) 
is insufficient for their needs. Thirdly, a rule that 
insists upon the planter (of coffee, tea or cardamon) 
ix> abstain from touching the natural vegetation on 


63 

fifty yards of ground on each side of every mountain 
stream that might lie within the occupancy of in- 
dividual occupants, in effect divides the concerned 
estate into as many separate blocks as there are 
hill currents, the imeconomic consequences of 
which can easily be imagined. The idea underlying- 
such a rule seems to be that the shade of natural 
vegetation helps hill currents in retaining their 
moisture. This is true, but all coffee and tea 
estates as a rule maintain regulated shade over the 
entire estate. A recommendation was made to the 
Ooveimment of Mysore that such fifty yards strips 
should be left to be looked after by the planters 
themselves; If or, of the parties interested in the 
maintenance of the water supply in such hiU 
currents, the planters themselves constitute the 
most important section and they should be reasonbly 
expected to conserve their moisture resources as 
carefully as possible. 

While this is the kind of relationship that 
prevails as between the forest managers and 
agriculturists (where the two are in contiguity), it 
is quite another story with regard to long-standing 
thick forests far away from human habitation's. 
Along the Western Ghats, for instance, there are 
hundreds of square miles of virgin forest whose 
locality and contents are known to the Forest 
Department mostly by conjecture. The amount of 
main and subsidiary forest products that actually 
rot in such areas can hardly be gauged: in the case 
of costly products like sandal wood it is the 
smuggler that penetrates the otherwise impenetra- 
ble grow^th. The Forest Departmental people 
say that as no means of communication are possible, 
anything like a scientific survey and exploitation of 
the forests and prevention of smuggling is im- 
possible; but the responsibility for putting up 


64 

suitable forest communications really devolves upon 
them only. 

The present situation, then, appears to warrant 
the speedy transfer of forests near by villages to 
the villagers themselves, that is, forest panchayats : 
in a good many cases where such transfers have 
been made recently, results obtained show satis- 
factory improvement in conservation and replanta- 
tion: the recent Mysore Village Panchayat Act must 
powerfully help the local Government in relieving 
itself from the really impossible task (from a 
central departmental viewpoint) of looking after 
village forests. 


CHAPTER VI 


TRANSPORT 

Importance of Btiral Transport 

To the British Government whose chief aim in 
India was the building up of a homogeneous and 
consolidated Empire, the urgency for binding 
together the length and breadth -of the country by 
means of an adequate railway mileage was much 
more patent than the importance of rural 
communications for the people welfare. Even 
when the powers that be began to think of the 
material interests of the country as distinguished 
from the advancement of the rulers, they first took 
up industry, then fiscal policy, then the currency 
problem and so on, till very recently when 
they appear to have become aware of the practical 
identity between rural development and national 
prosperity. The present conditions of rural trans- 
port facilities and measures to be adopted for 
improving them to the necessary standard must be 
carefully investigated into and decided upon by the 
Agricultural Commission. This country has now 
got quite a sufficient mileage of railway for 
making Indian nationalitj'^ a reality provided 
other conditions favour such a unification. But when 
we remember the vast amount of internal local trade 
and visuahse the means of communications at its 
service we must easily see that impediments have 
accumulated as a result of decay in rural enterprise 
and initiative, and neglect by the administrative 
authorities. To many villages in India only head- 
loads can go, some are accessible to animal loads, 
by far the majority are reachable by country carts 
with difficulty in the summer season, at g-reat cost 
and risk during the rainy season. A large number 
of villages become de facto islands— singly or in a 
group— on account of rivers and brooks making 

5 


66 

ingress and egress impossible. Imperial roads are^ 
all right : the repairs annually are good, supervision 
efficient, grants liberal. Provincial roads are not 
hopeless generally, but a progressive decay is setting 
in, specially in areas where railway services help 
in excluding such roads from the attention of officers 
and leaders of the public. District Board or Local 
Fund roads and what are called popularly village 
cart tracks, are on the whole in a distressing condi- 
tion: no proper bridges and culverts, nothing like 
a possible grant for repairs, no careful supervision, 
no hateUigent plan in survey or initial outlay work. 
In these days of a noisy railway policy few seem 
to hear the woes of the rustics on this score. Leave 
alone convenience for trade, rural people can- 
no fc secure such elemental conditions for human 
existence as medical relief, postal deliveries, visits 
from relations and friends, etc. In fact this deplor- 
able state of the roads used by villagers, has been 
more responsible than any other single cause for 
such ominous numbers leaxdng villages for towns in 
recent years. 

Can these disabilities of villagers be met by an 
adequate addition to our railway mileage? The cost 
involved would be much more than a hundred crores 
for the whole of India, the time required would be 
several decades, a high percentage of the original 
expenditure would have to go in paji.ng foreign 
firms, and then there is the question as to whether 
all our loop and feeder lines would pay their way. 
The average ryot is a small-scale producer and 
dealer, his goods generally travel only small 
distances, eicept in the case of certain exported 
commodities. Some rustics when they go once in a 
way to a railway for the carriage of their goods, 
become specially victimised by rough handling of 
goods by railway staff, at places where the gauge 
changes, delay in transhipment on account of 


67 

maldistribution of wagons, corruption among the 
railway employees, and so on. Where the ryot finds, 
therefore, the distance eoverable by his bullocks he 
very rarely goes to a railway goods clerk. Cheapen- 
ed and cheapening motor transport appears to offer 
a suitable and economical way out of the dif&culty- 
We have sunk crores of money on our roads and it 
is far from a business proposition that all this must 
be given up in favour of fresh expenditure on rail- 
way programmes. To repair and maintain bridges 
and embankments and cuttings would require much 
less than what has to be spent on the maintenance 
of a railway. Indian agriculture flourishes on lulls 
and in valleys, and no railway system can hope to 
offer so much facility for rural transport as roads 
can do. Motor transport of passengers and goods 
should be possible speedily in wider and wider areas 
provided Governments come forward and give some 
concessions like the grant of a monopoly to one firm 
or company over a whole district, the gradual hand- 
ing over of all mail contracts within the district to 
thp concern, the putting up of telephone hues along 
the roads for hired use both by the motor monopoly 
and the pubHc, more reasonable annual grants for 
the repair of roads and the establishment of a 
separate Road Section of the Public Works Depart- 
ment. And in spite of all this it will take several 
decades more for the average ryot to give up His 
bullock cart: and so long as his fortune is yoked up 
with his oxen and primaeval vehicle so long it is 
good roads and good roads alone that can reaUy 
and effectively facilitate the improvement m the 
welfare of the Indian villager. The suggestion made 
here deserves further investigation by enterprisers 
and Development Departments We ask for rural 
• development a well-thought out road policy. 


68 

How TmprovemeMts should he Possible 

Among the several resolutions passed at the 
recent Conference at Bangalore of the European 
planters of South India, one on the necessity for 
developing a Road Fund on the British model, and 
the other asking for a reduction in the import duty 
on motors to ten per cent, and its total abolition 
with regard to commercial motor vehicles, deserve 
serious consideration. The Mysore Malnad is a 
tract where coffee, tea and rubber plantations 
abound. Examination on the spot revealed a state 
of affairs not generally known; and that in a tract 
where the general condition of roads is decidedly 
better than in some other parts of India — thanl^ 
to the foundations laid by the British Commission 
which was in charge of the State from 1831 to 1881. 
and the. activities of subsequent progressive govern- 
ments. 

Roads are now in the charge of the Public 
Works Department generally, • except in some 
municipal areas. There are Imperial roads, Provin- 
cial roads and Local Fund roads : in addition there 
are in parts of the country Village roads. The fiitst 
three categories are Government managed, whereas 
the last is subject to an Aid system, the responsibilitj^ 
of the GoA'crnment ceasing with the grant of various 
amounts in aid for their proper upkeep. Imperial 
roads are generally all right, the annual grants for 
repairs being good and the motor cars of the powers 
that be being almost always thereon. But the pro- 
vincial and local fund roads have as a rule insufficient 
initial grants, inadequate grants for annual repairs, 
and the way in which the little amount available is 
spent is far from efficient. Frankly, most of the re- 
pairs of these roads are make-believe repairs. 

On a road connecting a district head-quarter 
town and an important sea port town, the writer 


69 


3ioticed that for more than four montlis a wide and 
deep ditch (caused by heavy rain) in the centre of 
the road was allowed to continue ; it was a feat for 
carts and motor buses to cross that part of the road. 
In another case, a bridge which had been washed 
off during the monsoon season was not replaced for 
more than a year; the road concerned connected a 
district headquarter town with the nearest railway 
station. In a third case, a rickety bridge was 
suffered to remain for two years, a condition laid 
down by the P. W. D. during that period of time 
having been that loaded carts and motor buses going 
over the bridge should unload before going over it 
and reload after crossing; the worry and delay 
caused by the arrangement can easily be imagined. 
In innumerable cases, carts and motor buses im- 
provise temporary deviations in order to get clear 
of bad impassable portions of roads. 

Grants on pre-war scales can by no means 
secure satisfactory results: the price level of the 
materials and the cost of living of the labourers have 
gone up; yet, few Governments in India have en- 
hanced grants on an index number basis. Scarcity 
of efficient labour, of enterprising contractors, and 
lack of sufficient devolution of powers to engineering 
officers on the spot, are some of the other excuses 
being put forward by the Public Works officials. 
But no excuse can diminish the grave impediment 
to the country's progress as a w^hole on account of 
our bad roads. No proper delivery and despatch of 
post, no medical relief, no administrative efficiency 
— ^these and similar defects in rural parts of India 
are all mostly due to the lack of a sound road policy. 
In production and in trade non-competitive condi- 
tions are so prominently prevalent in rural India 
mainly for this reason. 

This is a sub-continent in reality, and the 
annihilation of distance by quick, safe, cheap 


70 

means of communication is the true way for develop- 
ing a nationality here, economically as well 
as politically- Our railways are mostly trunk lines 
»and considerations of capital supply, etc., must^ 
keep anj' plan for ramifying the whole country with 
adequate loop and feeder lines outside the range of 
practical politics, at any rate for some decades to 
come. It is no wonder therefore that, the arteries 
apart, the countless minor blood vessels of the body 
politic are being served by a phenomenally increas- 
ing number of motor vehicles. Rapid as 
this increase has been, the total number of motor 
vehicles in the whole country by the beginning of 
April, 1925, Avas only about 80.000! The number must 
have considerably increased by now. For more than 
a million square miles and a fifth of the human race, 
>even the most rudimentary requirements must need 
a much larger number of inotor vehicles. But 
the 30 per cent, import duty makes all the 
difference between a good and a bad business, so 
argues the wary local eapitahst. Q?here are no 
regular services, the number of trips and the 
timings being entirely according to the judgment of 
the 'bus owner, the mileage rates for passengers and 
fox parcels are yet high. In some cases, unhealthy 
<2ompetition is allowed by unlimited issue of licenses, 
and the end of it all is the disappearance of all 
the rivals in course of time. 

The newly inaugurated Board of Communica- 
tions in the Punjab, the proposal in the U. P. for 
empowering the district boards to tax motors 
in order to be able to maintain the roads in the 
respective districts in. proper condition, the forma- 
tion of a Road Board in Assam, the Bengal 
Taxation of Vehicles Bill, the move for a Road 
Development Fimd in Bombay — ^these are certainly 
not a bad start in. the right direction. But, the 
situation seems to require, not one, but a series 


71 


of correlated arrangements, among which the 
following are perhaps the more important. 
I^irstly, the management of roads must be 
detached from the public works departments: as 
they are, they have too many irons in the fire;, 
and relief this way would be good both for roads, 
and for other responsibilities of the P. W. D. Special 
agencies with proper training in the laying and 
the maintenance of roads, must be put in charge 
of Road Works: if railwaymen are able to set right 
even major damages to the permanent way in a 
comparatively short space of time, there is no reason 
why there should be greater delay in the case of 
ordinary roads which require much less complicated 
processes and much less skill. Secondly, all 
collections made out of taxes on traffic along roads 
and on ail kinds of vehicles using the ordinary road 
for movement, must be earmarked for being spent 
on the improvement and extension of roads. This 
must be in addition to the grants that Governments 
will find it possible to make for the purpose. 
Thirdly, the Road Works Department must lose no 
opportmiity for getting the co-operation of motor 
T)us owners using the concerned road, or of 
motorists' associations using the entire road mile- 
age in an area, in the task of getting suitable, 
capable contractors for road construction and 
repair : the interest motor owners have in good roads 
is naturally so great that any co-operation sought 
would be most willingly responded to. 

Fourthly, it appears highly advisable that over 
:every suitable area as a unit (either a district or 
two or three, or a part thereof, according 
to geographical and social conditions) local 
governments should set up, at least for a decade or 
two, motor monopolies with the sole right of carry- 
ing passengers and goods for a charge within the 
defined area. Such monopolies, if granted to joint- 
stock organizations would not benefit individual 


72 

capitalists to the exclusion of others. Such organi- 
zations would have to be given certain privileges^ 
by local governments so that the latter might have 
sufficient powers of supervision and control in public 
interests : among the pri^dleges wwld be the grant 
of all mail contracts (except along routes served 
directly by railways) the provision of telephone 
facilities along important roads for use as well by 
the public as by the motor monopoly for a charge^ 
and the guarantee of all governmental transhipment 
of goods (in areas unserved by railways) within 
the area: while railway companies have such 
privileges, there is no reason w^hy the motor organi- 
zations should not have them. Among the obliga- 
tions of such organizations w^ould be the regular 
running of daily passenger services and weekly 
lorry services along the entire road mileage in the 
area on which there is no railway competition. In 
the matter of vehicles and men employed, and on. 
the question of rates, the local Grovernment would 
naturally have a deciding voice. The practicability 
of such an arrangement- was considered in detail 
by the writer, and it was f omid that it would work 
very successfully. Until such a time comes when 
we would be able to afford enough capital for rail- 
way connection as between village and village, the 
only hope for opening up the eomitry (not merely 
for exploitation as at present, but for real pro- 
gress) seems to lie this way. 

Lastly, the thirty per cent, import duty 
on motors has by now proved itself to 'be quite 
•uneconomical. The demand for motor vehicles is 
in India at present highly elastic, and the lower the 
duty the larger the customs receipts would on the 
whole be, probably. In brief, the present urban 
interpretation of this country's needs, must be done^ 
away with, and as in other matters so in the matter 
of commimications, the village must be uniformly 
adopted as the unit in all schemes of public utility. 


CHAPTER VII 


TRADE. 

External Trade of India. 

A study of the official statistics for 1924-2& 
should be of more than ordinary interest, for by that 
year a full decade had passed after the outbreak of 
the world war. The very first thing that strikes the 
reader is that, as in the case of a child, India's capa- 
city to recover from serious trade depressions is 
very great: in 1920-21 our imports were at the high- 
est post-war point (nearly 300 crores) while in 1921- 
22 our exports sank lowest (about 225 crores), yet 
by 1924:-25 the respective figures had risen to 260 and 
380 crores. With increasing irrigational facilities, 
a more national policy with regard to agriculture 
and industry, and considerable increase in local en- 
terprise, it can be stated with confidence that the 
bugbear of an imf avourable balance of trade (made 
so much of by Mr. Shirras and others) 
has no future in this country unless 
once again India is deliberately made to 
depend helplessly on foreign countries for 
some of her essential goods, or unless an exchange 
muddle as of 1920-21 is concsiously or unconsciously 
developed by the powers that be. On his last Budget 
statement Sir Basil Blackett was congratulated by so 
many from far and near, but hardly any even did so 
much as to remember that the prime cause for such 
a quick ficnancial recovery was the special powers of 
recuperation possessed by this land ajid its people. 

Remove British trade with India, the premier 
position of the former's foreign trade would be im- 
possible. It is between Britain and India that we 
find something like the international division of la- 
bour the praises of which were sung by Adam Smith;- 
ISTinety per cent of Indian exports to Britain consist 


74 

of raw material and foodstuffs, more than 95 per 
cent of British exports to India consist of manufac- 
tured goods— and that in 1924-25- 1,150 million 
yards of cloth entered this country from Great Bri- 
tain in that year whereas Rs. 91 crores worth of 
raw cotton was exported from India to Britai n 
during the same year. This sort •of 
exchange might be good as between two 
equally well placed countries (as for ex- 
ample, Japan and Britain) but as between ^^an elder 
and a younger brother such trade must inevitably 
lack in fairness — in the fierce struggle for ex- 
istence the weaker party must go to the wall. Two 
instances may be given: compared to the pre-war 
price level the prices got by cotton growers in India 
during 1924-25 were 35 per cent, higher, but the pri- 
ces of British manufactured cotton goods in this 
country were 169 per cent higher than before the 
war. This connotes a heavy net loss to India as 
a cotton-growing and a cotton-cloth-eonsuming coun- 
try, the respective prices of raw material and manu- 
factures being settled not on really competitive lines 
but on monopolistic bases — the Grovernmelit of India 
•standing aloof all the while in profound loyalty to 
the priciple on laissez faire. Secondly, among the 
chief exports from India are cotton, jute tea, oil 
seeds, petrol, rice and hides and skins. Among im- 
ports are piece goods (82 crores worth), drugs 
and medicines (Rs. 181 lakhs worth), provisions — 
canned and bottled, etc., (392 lakhs worth), liquor 
(Rs. 328 lakhs worth), manufactured tobacco (Rs. 
140 lakhs worth) — ^97 per cent, of it came from 
Great Britain— etc. We grow sandal wood ia 
plenty, yet we import large quantities of foreign 
scents m the preparation of which sandal oil is used 
as a base: we export huge stocks of oilseeds, yet we 
-are literally Hving upon "sunlight'' soap. 


75 

Poreign countries are deriving the benefit of 
lower price levels here, but these are being main- 
tained as a result of low wage levels (which spell a 
low standard of life, ipso facto a low level of effi- 
ciency). ^ ^Practical difficulties'' there will always 
be, but if India's position as a partner in interna- 
tional trade should be safeguarded, if she should 
^erve less and less as an exploiting ground, 
the wage levels must rise in conformity to 
that standard of living which is considered 
commensurate both to the nation's self -respect 
and to the maintenance of efficiency. A minimum 
wage act must be passed and enforced by local bodies 
in all productive concerns, and it should be accompa- 
nied by a definite pohcy of adequate protection to 
home industries to enable them to pay higher wages. 
This will mean higher expenses of pro- 
duction, less x^rofiteering, less export of 
raw material and foodstuffs, an indirect 
^encouragement to local industries, less of 
economic dependence on other countries. The As- 
sembly worried itself so much over a vagrancy law 
recently, but honest workers who are millions more 
in number require legislative protection much more 
urgently. In this country at present the actual pro- 
ducer is much at a disadvantage on account of mid- 
dlemen left free to bargain to the best of their inter- 
ests, and nothing short of a minimum wage act can 
relieve the situation effectively. The results of the 
recent economic survey in Mysore very much streng- 
then this view. 

A co-ordinate step to be taken by a national go- 
vernment is the levy of reasonable export duties on 
such Indian products as are of particular capital 
value to this country itself. Is it not very strange 
that neither the Todhunter Committee in their Re- 
port nor the Finance Member in his Financial State- 
ment said anything at all as to why an export duty 


76 

should not be levied on petrol? Even the ^^diseri^ 
minating'' majority of the Fiscal Commission recom- 
mended the levy of such duties on commodities in the 
production of which this country possessed a more or 
less virtual monopoly. This is needed, not indeed to 
harm other nations or exploit other countries, but to 
ensure to the local population a preponderant por- 
tion of the benefits of Nature's gifts which are the 
country's own. 

Trade in Rural Tracts 

Disabilities of Ryots 

The fmaneial position is becoming easier, the 
export trade is swelling up, imports of silver and 
gold from abroad are showing a sharp rise and the 
general urban opinion is that India has entered up- 
on a period of progressive yet stable agricultural 
prosperity. In 1923-24 the Indian exports were 
about Rs. 300 crores worth while in 1918-19 they 
amounted to about Rs. 225 crores. In 1921-22 we 
exported 2.9 million bales of cotton, in 1923-24, 3.7 
million bales were exported. In pre-war years, about 
Rs. 45 crores worth of foodgrains and flour were 
sent to other countries annually, in 1923-24 the value 
of such exports rose to Rs. 51 crores. A case is made 
that such increases in exports are due to the fact 
that the country has more to spare of such commodi- 
ties. On the other hand, those conversant with rural 
social conditions generally agree that a process of 
progressive deterioration has set in. It is held by 
them that the co-operative credit societies which 
have been organised in all areas have generally 
helped the upper middle and middle classes: the 
occupants of medium-sized and small holdings are 
subject to the Iron Law of Wages— their net receipts 
being at less than the minimum subsistence level 
irrespective of rises in prices or larger yields. In 
a few select tracts like the Tanjore District or the 


77 

Delta lands at the mouth of the Godavari or the 
irrigated areas in the Punjab, conditions do not 
seem to be so bad, but in the generality of cases 
rural welfare is certainly at a much lower level 
than ordinarily supposed. 

The central fact of the situation is that the 
ryot, a few months after the amuial harvest (out 
of 286,345,000 acres cultivated in India during 1923- 
24, 34,637,000 acres had more than one crop sown 
upon them), finds himself under a compulsion to 
borrow for meeting household and agricultural 
working expenses. Two reasons for his so running 
shovt are his heavy mortgage debts which eat away 
a good bit out of his produce, and secondly his sale 
of (or undertaking to sell) the previous year's crop 
in anticipation. The Economic Survey of the Malnad 
clearly showed that a powerful cause for the poverty 
of the agriculturist was his subjection to a 
clandestine trade organisation treating him unfair- 
ly at every point. The Malnad is famous for its 
iireca-nut (supari), but the areca gardenowners are 
becoming impoverished mainly because the trade 
between them and the miindy (wholesale) merchants 
at Shimoga has been going on all to their dis- 
advantage: the areca grower universally wants 
advances months before the crop is realised and the 
trader readily accommodates him on the under- 
mentioned conditions. Firstly, the borrower should 
pay one year's interest at twelve and a half per cent, 
on the amomit borrowed whatever might be the time 
between the date of borrowing and that of the next 
crop. Even if the loan is taken in July and repaid 
m October the payment must be of- one year's 
mterest. Secondly, the debtor must deliver all his 
produce (except what is required for his domestic 
use) to the particular lending sdhukar. The legal 
-weight of one maund in those tracts is 1,056 tolas^ 


78 

but as a rule the merchant takes the areca to his 
custody at 1,080 tolas per maund, this heavier rate 
being insisted upon as varthaka sahivali — 
(mercantile rate). Thirdly, for every 100 maunds 
delivered, the ryot has to add tJialarasM or labhasere 
(allowance for dirt and waste or for ^^handful for 
profit '0- Fourthly it is left to the merchant to sell 
the produce at any time he chooses, the rate allowed 
by him to the ryot at the end of the season being 
at least one rupee less per maund than the average 
market rate : this rate is called seemedJiarane (the 
general rate). Calculations show that when areca 
sells at Ks. 11 per maund, the ryot who delivers 
100 maunds to the mundy merchant is credited with 
about Rs. 971-8 instead of Rs. 1,100. This charge 
he bears works out at about twelve and a 
half per cent. Add to this the interest he 
has to pay on the debt he incurred the 
previous year (the number of instances where the 
loan amount almost completely covers the next sea- 
son's crop, are ominously increasing), the real rate 
of commission paid by him to the merchant works 
out at much more than 25 per cent, the 12 1|2 per 
cent, loss being for his entire crop, and the expenses 
of carting the produce to the merchant's place (often 
scores of miles away) being the ryot's. (The use of 
weights heavier than declared still in practice in 
many wholesale shops has been omitted in this 
calculation). 

Gardamon, another important crop of t^e 
Malnad, is subject to similar oppression at the hands 
of the capitalist-merchant class: moneys are 
advanced on the security of the standing crops by 
touring Moplah merchants or their agents, and by 
three or four Manjarabad companies" (that 
is, shops dealing in the commodity) which are 
financed by the merchants from Haver i (in the 
Bombay Presidency) who have practically mono- 


79 

polised the entire trade. The writer, in the ccurse 
of the Economic Survey, found that while the market 
j)rice of cardamon in 1925 was between Rs. 100 and 
Rs. 110 per maund the rates at which the cardamon 
growers contracted away their crops in return for 
advances received were between Rs. 75 and Rs. 80. 
In many cases where Moplahs had made advances 
the contracted rate was found to be as low as Rs. 55. 
At a liberal estimate the expenses for taking 
cardamon to Haveri and bleaching it there amount 
to Rs. 5 per maund, and the loss borne by the advance 
receivers are here again at least twenty-five per cent, 
of the market value of their crops. 

Absence of competitive conditions and lack of 
capital supply for short terms characterise even 
other crops. In the case of paddy-growers advances 
entail 5 per cent, commission (dallali) to the middle- 
man, another 5 per cent, discount deducted by the 
lender, and the rate at which paddy goes off at the 
next harvest turns out to be at least 10 per cent, 
lower than the market rate, not to speak of interest 
rate which is at least 12 1|2 per cent. Several in- 
stances were found where needy farmers pawned 
small gold trinl^ets with Marwaris for small loans 
at 25 per cent, rate of interest ; and in a good many 
of them the borrowers not being able to reclaim their 
gold on account of their poverty, and not possessing 
the commonsense to sell off where it was impossible 
to release, forfeited, not theirs, but their women's 
all. 

It appeared as a result of the investigation of 
such facts and phenomena, that to help the small 
landholders in getting their own, and thus augment- 
ing their present pitiable earnings, to help them in 
raising their standard of living and thereby their 
efficiency and optimism, an important step to be taken 
was the organisation of Central Co-operative Selling 
Sjm.dicates. An attempt has been made in Hyderabad 


80 

to prevent unfair prices being realised by cotton 
growers, by fixing up a Bombay firm for the purpose 
of receiving cotton from Hyderabad ryots, selling it 
honestly and crediting the owners with fair prices^ 
after deducting a small commission sanctioned by 
the Hyderabad Co-operative Department. But in 
actual practice this arrangement has not yet become 
popular. The ryots have no suflScient perception and 
initiative, and it therefore lies with the Local 
Governments to put up Special Ofiicers in suitable 
agricultural areas in order to form such Syndicates 
and teach the ryots the benefits of co-operative sale 
by actual working. Accommodation that ryots want 
in this connection is of a short-term character and 
it should be easy for the special officers to arrange 
for such accommodation with the existing commer- 
cial banks — the accoimts being cleared off 
automatically during the harvest season. Calcula- 
tions show that such Syndicates would not only pay 
the entire establishment charges from' the very 
beginning, but also permit the accumulation of a use- 
ful reserve fund, 

Capitahst agencies on whom our Grovermnents 
are yet largely depending for information with 
regard to rural welfare, contend that Grovernments 
must not interfere in such matters as trade: 
competition^' must be facilitated. It is hoped that 
from the foregoing narrative it will be clear that in 
rural tracts generally, competitive conditions do not 
prevail. The inauguration of Central Co-operative 
Selling Syndicates would assist in freeing the field 
from covert and crushing monopoly. The work of 
such Syndicates could conveniently and profitably 
be (1) to advance money for short terms on the 
^security of standing crops, to members and thus save 
them from the grip of the capitalist-profiteer; (2) 
to collect saleable crops from members through, 
special lorries kept for the purpose; (3) to properly 


81 

grade and sample sueli collected crops and dispose 
of them in the best market ; (4) in the case of food- 
grains, to serve as grain banks for the benefit of 
members; and (5) to supply if required urban 
commodities to members against sums standing to 
their credit. 


CHAPTER Vni 
CAPTIAL. 


Indian Capital Needs 
Field for a Ways and Means Committee 


It often happens that, owing to peculiar diffi- 
culties and embarrassing complications in Indian 
economic matters, the people that are actually in the 
run of affairs forget or ignore the long-period point 
of view. On the question of Indian capital needs 
such a fallacious procedure is certainly not unknown. 
In the Times of India of April 23, 1926, a correspon- 
dent opines that the present problem in Indian indus- 
try is not additional production but the finding of 
markets for the current output. Over the next de- 
cade, he says, Indian industry will have to be busy 
not in expansion but ia consolidation. Compare 
with this opinion the scope for capital outlay which 
IS practically unlimited for the development of the 
natural resources of the country. If Indians should 
use to any standard of life worthy of a civilised peo- 
ple, if they should benefit from the gifts of Nature 
to them, it must necessarily be through further ap- 
pheation oi millions and milUons of capital to pro- 
duction Dr. Rushbrook WiUiams' analysis sun- 
ports this view: ''India was unable, despite her 
wea th m raw materials, to produce more than a 
small fraction of the articles essential for the main- 
tenance of civilised activities. Devolpment has hi- 

fW^K^''? industries, except 

those based on some natural monopoly, could hope to 
make headway against the scientific production Ld 
orgamsed competition of Western countries " 

dishes? "on"\t;'^r ^? "1? f 
Slump in trade, but inTSg qufuty^d Zl^l 


83 

<30sts : for both these, additional capital goes a long 
way in helping. In fact the capital needs are so 
great that even the respected opinions of Sir Basil 
Blackett and Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee (that 
local capital should be enough to meet all the capital 
needs of the country) are not accepted by all stu- 
dents of Indian economics. Actively sympathetic as 
the different G-overnments have been and are towards 
speedily improving the national income, inside know- 
ledge shows that lack of confidence about adequate 
response has made many a Government vacillate over 
sanctioned projects and schemes (involving 
large capital outlay) ; for every project or factory 
completed or under construction or organisation, 
there aro at least nine such in (government pigeon 
-holes under consideration'' or on account of ^^finan- 
cial stringency.'' 

A few instances must be cited. In Hyderabad, 
thanks to Mr. Ahmed Ali (the Irrigation Chief En- 
gineer), iiTigation and hydro-electric works involv- 
ing an outlay of Rs. 40 crores are before Govern- 
ment all the projects being said to be commercially 
sound. In Mysore, the Bhatkal Rail- 
way and Harbour Schemes (which would have 
respectively opened up the MaLnad and given a 
direct outlet to Mysore trade with foreign lands) are 
hanging fire because the Banerji Government lacked 
in boldness of imagination and resources to follow 
Tip Sir M. Visvesvaraya's plans. The Bhadravathi 
Iron Works require an additional outlay of Rs. 50 
lakhs in order to be able to produce steel which is m 
great demand and under special protection: yet, ''ba- 
lanced budgets" are being made a fetish of without a 
businesslike distinction between service expenditure 
and capital outlay. On the request of the Mysore 
Government the Government of Madras, have allow- 
ed fifty years time for the former putting up a dam 
across the Kapini which will result in a reservoir 


84 


feeding a larger acreage than the maximum irrigable- 
area under the Krishnaraja Sagara at its full height. 
Numerous feeder and loop lines of railway are at 
several stages of half-hearted attention on account 
of the same doubt as to whether enough capital would 
come forth when the productive loans were launched. 

A roaming through forests will give some vague 
idea of the Oabulous prospects there are for paper,, 
pencil and match industries. Yet, in spite of Notes 
and Memoranda by Directors of Industries and 
Forest Conservators, not one good factory in any 
one of these industries has been till now set up. And 
mines are being handed over, even to-day, to foreign 
companies on terms far from fair to national in- 
terests The correspondent referred to suggests that 
with the surplus capital of India, Indian sterling 
securities should be bought off : by far the greater 
part of such securities are productive, they are more 
than pacing their way now, and when local demand 
for additional productive works is so great, one won- 
ders where the hurry is for the Indianisation of ster- 
ling secuiitiea. 

^ The correspondent rightly pleads for the consti- 
tution of land mortgage banks: agriculturally this^ 
country is much richer than ordinarily imagined^, 
but the population working on the land is pitiably 
poor. Even if the existing banks and banias were* 
prepared to lend enough capital for redemption 
from oppressive creditors and improvement of land 
they could certainly not afford to meet the demand. 
The suitability of land mortgage banks to local condi- 
tions was specially examined in the course of a re- 
cent Economic Survey of the Mahiad: the result of 
the Survey was to show that coercing sahukars, a 
callous administration (not in ideal, but in practice) 
and courts committed to enforce contracts, all co- 
operated in setting afoot a progressive desertion of 
agricultural land for the towns : debt on land blighted 


85 

■tHe assets given by Nature. On a modest estimate 
Rs. 50 crores would be required to ramify the country 
with a series of land mortgage banks ; yet attempts 
here and there have been made (as in Madras and 
the Pmijab) tentatively and experimentally. And 
the Mysore Grovernment has been philosophising for 
the last three years over the difficulties and risks in- 
volved and have been putting off facilitating the es- 
tablishment of such banks on one pretext or other* 

A committee recently reported to the Govern- 
ment of India on the desirability or otherwise of uti- 
lising external capital for development work in In- 
dia : the whole Report it has to be said with def er- 
'Cnce, is a piece of intelligent conjecture and point- 
less controversy. The much more pertinent and ur- 
gent matter for handling was, and is, the task of pro- 
viding means for making sufficient capital available 
— it mattered very little whether the capital was f or- 
^eign or local so long as the terms of the bargain were 
fair and commercially profitable. A committee of 
-first rate financiers — ^partly Indian and partly Ame- 
rican and European (armed with close knowledge of 
respective local conditions) — given full and free sup- 
port by Government and entrusted with the task of 
gauging the demand for and improvising ways and 
^means for the supply of cheap and efficient capital, is 
bound to help Indian economic advancement mate- 
rially. The task requires negotiation as well as 
knowledge ; one may refer to the settlement of the 
American debt by Mr. Stanley Baldwin, the British 
purchase of dollar silver through Lord Reading and 
the tours through devastated Europe of eminent 
-American financiers like Frank Vanderlip. 

Bural Indebtedness in India 

Returns periodically published by banldng 
liouses give us some idea of the nature and amount 
of urban indebtedness in India. General enlighten- 


86 


ment has prevented urban debtors from being^ 
unjustly burdened by private moneylenders, and a 
more or less clear knowledge of the activities of the 
commercial world, coupled with the fact that these 
activities are concentrated in small areas, made it 
possible and imperative for the Goverimient to- 
provide necessary legislation and administrative 
arrangements for the maintenance of competitive 
conditions in regard to the relations between lenders 
and borrowers. But the situation is quite different 
in rural areas. Neither the Govermnent nor the 
leaders of the pubhe have had any definite ideas 
with regard to the nature and conditions of debts 
borne patiently and for generations by the rural 
population. Many a co-operative conference ask- 
ed the authorities to investigate into the matter 
but all that the Government of India did was ta^ 
get the Report of the Economic Enquiry Committee 
on the manner in which economic data could 
be better secured in rural tracts. Even in that 
Report Mr. Burnett Hurst has counselled that we^ 
must wait till the temperament of the ryot changes, 
•rhe question of rural debts is one of the most 
important which the Agricultural Commission will 
have to tackle. It is generally contended that debts 
secured by the mortgage of land are the most 
burdensome on our villagers, but investiga- 
tions show that loans secured by the 
promises of labour (one's own or recruited) and 
by the standing crop are weighing much 
more heavily upon the poorer ryots and 
agricultural labourers than mortgage debts do upon 
landholders . It is only by the organisation of Labour- 
Departments and Co-operative Selling Sjnidicates. 
that Governments in India can expect to offer some^ 
effective relief to the rural classes concerned. For the- 
redemption of landholders from ruinous debts more- 
than one measure of relief are necessary, and we- 
propose to indicate their main features here. 


87 

More than mrtety per cent, of debts on land 
mortgage are even now sahukar debts, a general 
feature of which is that no uniform business 
principles are observed. The sahukar has one rule 
for one borrower, a second for another and so on: in 
many cases he deliberately allows the encumberance 
to grow so high as to ensure the mortgaged proper- 
ties becoming his own on account of the debtor's 
inability to find such a large sum of money on the 
security of the same encumbered properities 
elsewhere. In many other cases the improvidence or 
the inability of the debtor or his heirs helps the 
accumulation of interest, the principal swells, 
and finally the debt swallows the secured properties. 
A serious question is whether this class of landed 
debtors, groaning under proportionately very 
heavy encumbrances, should or should not be helped 
by Government action. No land mortgage banks can 
succour the occupant of land whose debts amount to 
more than fifty per cent, of the estimated market 
value of his holdings. The fifty per cent, rule may 
be modified when land mortgage banks come to stay 
and inspire confidence among the investing pubhc, 
but ' at the present moment when such banks are 
quite new to the people such a safe percentage will 
have to be strictly stuck to. One step 
that has been taken by the Bombay 
Grovernment for helping this class of in- 
debted landholders consists in empowering judges 
by the Deccan Agriculturists' Rehef Act, to go into 
the history of debts (for the repayment of which suits 
come up before them) and to reduce rates of interest 
and direct payment of decree amount by instalments 
which look fair in the eyes of the judge, irrespective 
of the terms of the contract registered. At present 
judges in other parts of India have no discretion to 
invalidate iniquitous loan bonds. The Usurious Loans 
Eegulation which is on the statute book-of many a 
Province is not effective as the debtor has no power 


88 

under the law to sue for accounts. It is very urgent 
that all other parts of India should adopt some such 
legislation as the Deccan Agriculturists' Relief Act. 
In Mysore, a Government Bill on these lines has just 
been announced. 

Another step that ought to be taken for the 
protection of helpless landholders who would other- 
wise be ejected from rural into urban parts and thus 
contribute to the acceleration of the already high 
rate of increase in absentee landlordism, is for the 
different Governments in India to exempt sub- 
economic" holdings from attachment against decrees 
by civil courts. This method of safeguarding ^^the 
right to exist has already been adopted by Govern- 
ments in the case of their employees drawing less 
than Rs. 20 per month. Instead of precipitating the 
desertion of agriculture by the honest, well-meaning 
ryot whose only fault in reality is his helplessness^ 
the much more statesmanlike policy would be to give 
him a further chance to stay on the land and repay 
his debts out of his production, not out of his capital. 
This measure would never mean any injustice to the 
lending class: so long as the debt is prolonged, lie 
would continue to get interest — of course at a fair 
rate. And if he wants his money back, it is generally 
for lending to somebody else. The establishment of 
land mortgage banks would facilitate the freedom of 
the rest of the debtors whose encumbrances were 
within fifty per cent, of the value of their properties 
and therefore admitted of being assisted towards 
reduction or cancellation on business lines. 

The Punjab Begulation of Accounts Act 

Thanks to the spade work done in recent years 
by economic investigators like Messrs. Calvert and 
Myles and Darling, the Punjab has pioneered in 
introducing and experimenting with several 
measures calculated to promote social justice and 


89 

^economic improvement: and the latest of such 
measures is the Regulation of Accounts Act 
oilginally called the Borrowers' Protection Bill. 
How much exertion the rural capitalist class is 
•capable of when some step prejudicing their 
interests is contemplated, has been well 
demonstrated by the extraordinarily vehement 
opposition put up against the Bill by Raja 
Narendranatii, Nanak Chand and their school. This 
must persuade the authorities in every part of the 
country to give more heed to the complaint which 
the writer has frequently made: the capitalist 
interests in rural areas constitute a huge ob- 
.stacle in the way of a correct gauging of the condi- 
tions of the different rural classes of population. 
The nimierous ways in which they thwart the dis- 
passionate inquirer ^s efforts, the covert manner in 
which many of their dealings are carried on, and 
the success with which that class has tried to keep 
local Grovernments fairly ignorant of the woes of 
the poorer rustics — all this is an unmistakable proof 
of the astonishing intelligence of the moneyed class 
in rural tracts. But, alas, that intelligence is being 
used to subserve unjust and narrow selfish interests 
at the expense of the poorer neighbours. The 
proceedings in the Punjab Council clearly show that 
if in other parts of India Governments^ and 
legislatures want to know rural economic conditions 
and relations correctly (not every Province in India 
has had a Calvert), special efforts should be made 
to shake off the traditional dependence of Govern- 
ment officers and officials on sahukars and 
zamindars for information: in not a few cases did 
Governments in India put up capitalistic committees 
-fco report upon conditions in particular localities, 
and the results in such cases have been generally a 
white-washing: the really serious hardships to which 
the masses are subject have not been realised to any 
appreciable extent by other Governments in India 


90 


than that of the Punjab. And reports are bein^ 
continually submitted on the material and moral 
progress of India : 

In this respect of rural debts, conditions do 
not appear to be different in the Punjab from those 
prevailin;;^ in the South, for example in Mysore ; the 
attitude of the Government towards the Bill was one 
of sympathy as well as practicality, and on this 
score Sir Fazil Hussain and Sir Malcolm Hailey 
deserve to be- congratulated. The fact about these 
loans- is that the real rate of interest works 
at a much higher figure than the nominal rate. The 
Usurious Loans Regulation in Mysore does empower 
the judge to cut down unreasonably high rates of 
interest, but in cases of loans other than mortgage 
debts the debtor has, under that Regulation, no 
power to sue for accoimts, and the judge cannot be 
in a position to determine the real rate of interest 
charged by the creditor. In the Mysore Malnad, the 
writer found on investigation that, in the majority 
of rural loans, a great deal of complication was 
deliberately introduced into the accounts by the- 
sahukar: in his sampratMpatti (account book) he- 
jumbled up against each debtor all kinds of loans 
— ^those on mortgage of land, on the security of the- 
next crop, and on personal security. The money- 
lender maintained no other record and gave no^ 
receipt. At frequent intervals, balances of dues were 
struck (including principal, land revenue paid on 
behalf of the debtor, interest, penal interest, etc.) 
and the debtor had to make a fresh start with this 
new round sum : for large sums' he had to trip up 
to the sub-registrar's office and register a new bond 
for the consolidated amomit. It was found on care- 
ful calculation that while the general nominal rate^ 
of interest was' 12 ll2 per cent., the real interest 
paid by the debtors (mostly defaulters) was not less; 
than 25 per cent It was on account of this unsatis- 


91 

factory maintenance of accounts by the lenders that 
the writer recommended to the Government of 
Mysore that in the case of every loan sued for, the 
debtor should be empowered to sue for accounts. 
Societies (co-operative and other), companies and 
business firms in urban areas maintain clear 
accounts as a matter of routine, and the proposed 
measure would not affect them in any w^ay. 

Sir Fazil Hussain congratulated the opposition 
on the high level of debate, but this could not have 
meant anything more than a formal affair. Any stick 
was good enough to beat the dog with : Government 
was charged with fathering the Bill, and the climax- 
of the fun came when Swarajists^' under Dr. 
^iTarang ^ talked ouf before voting came off. Fine 
Swarajists indeed who could not brook a measure 
directly intended for the benefit of ignorant 
agriculturists! That outside capital would shirk 
from entering the Punjab, that inside capital would 
becoixie hopelessly ^*shy'', that the honest money- 
lender would get discouraged while his dishonest 
brother would evade the law by oppressing the 
borrowers more heavily than before — such argu- 
ments have been heard before, but it is indeed a 
pity that Raja l^arendranath and his supporters, 
put them forward so seriously in 1926. Even the 
Indian Penal Code some people do try to evade very 
seriously, in some cases successfully, but on that 
account shall we not have that code ? Capital is not^ 
and cannot be, mobile in rural India unless through 
some specially organised institutions like land 
mortgage banks. And moneylenders' would be the 
first to readjust themselves to changed circumstan- 
ces; compare tow in areas well served by co- 
operative credit societies, the general rate of interest 
has tangibly gone down. 

There is one^ big defeci; in the Bill as passed^ 
and the Punjab Government should have seen their 


way to remove it. Loans made by landlords to 
tenants for agricultural purposes are exempted 
from the provisions of the Act. Now, it is very easy 
for a landholder to construe every loan he makes 
his tenant as an agricultural loan, and this must 
mean that agricultural tenants will derive no benefit 
from the Act. The landless sahukar will be brought 
"under control, but what about the much more power- 
ful zamindar-sahukar? As Mr. Chowdhuri Duli- 
chand put it, the measure is a zamindar measure 
.and not one for the benefit of all agricultural classes. 
As between the tenant and the occupant it is the 
former that is in more urgent need of protection 
by legislation, but he has no representation on our 
Councils just now. When Sardar Jogendra Singh 
put in an amendment on the tenant ^s behalf, the 
zamindar witans rejected it. It must be hoped that 
after studying the operation of the Act for some 
time, an amendment extending the law to debts of 
all kinds incurred by tenants, will be moved by the 
Punjab Grovernment and accepted by the local 
Legislature. 

Land Mortgage Banks 

How to work them in India. 

The establishment of land mortgage banks is by 
now an accepted principle which is receiving the 
active attention of practically all Govermnents in 
India with a view to expedite actual inaiuguration. 
The Bombay Registrars' Conference passed a general 
resolution on this question: The Punjab, Madras and 
Mysore Grovernments have taken various steps in that 
connection. Indian rural life has a host of peculi- 
arities and for this reason a study of local conditions 
must better help in the organisation and working 
of these banks, than experience in other lands or 
knowledge of foreign models. 


It might be possible to work these banks under 
the Co-operative Societies' Act (as it has been done 
in the Punjab), but special legislation seems to be 
desirable for the undermentioned reasons. To inspire 
confidence in the ryot population and set the ball in 
motion, the concerned Government would have to 
subscribe for about fifty per cent, of the shares and 
debenture bonds (to be made over to private agencies, 
later on when conditions became more favourable 
for the banks). Secondly a Government guarantee 
of interest on debenture bonds is an absolute essen- 
tial for attracting an adequate amount of capital for 
investment in this new line of securities in India. 
To further help this end it would be necessary for 
the Government to treat debenture bonds as- 
negotiable instruments so that a convenient portion 
of public funds and trust funds might be invested 
in the bonds. The maximum working capital would 
also have to be fixed hy legislation. Summary powers 
of foreclosure for debts and judicial powers for hear- 
ing suits filed by the land mortgage banks, would 
have to be vested in the Registrar of Land Mortgage 
Banks. For this purpose, certain sections- 
of the Transfer of Property Act aind 
the Civil Procedure Code would as a 
corollary have to be amended. Lastly, the jumbling 
up of the credit work now being dpne by the ordinary 
co-operative societies and the special long term loans 
on land mortgage, would lead to many an administra- 
tive difficulty and consequent confusion. 

At the start a maximum Kmit of fifty per cent, 
of the estimated market value of the land offered 
for mortgage, would have to be strictly observed 
with regard to the grant of loans. This means that 
a big majority of indebted landholders would get 
no benefit from the banks, their present outstanding 
sahukar debts being in excess of the maximum limit 
suggested above. Relief for this class of debt- 


94 


burdened landowners could be afforded by empower- 
ing courts of law to go into the history of debts for 
the settlement of which suits come up before them 
and to order repayment of the just judgment debt 
in instalments eonyenient to the debtors. And then, 
once land mortgage banks are begun to be worked 
in a tract, the saliukar class must lose their 
monopolistic position and therefore become much 
more honest in business and reasonable in terms. 
This supplementing work which reformed sahukars 
would continue to do side by side with land banks, 
must on the whole bring about a much better 
situation than now. 

Short term loans would have to be rigorously 
excluded, for these would bring an additional annual 
charge which in most cases might spell default and 
all the other processes in its train. It must generally 
be presumed that, for redemption from prior debt 
or for improvement of land, every borrower would 
take full advantage of his credit at the beginning 
so that the whole loan might be spread over 
a decade or two. By giving short term loans 
the fifty per cent, limit would sometimes be 
exceeded, and there would have to be two 
Idnds of accoimts. Rather the landholder must 
go to either the existing credit co-operative societies 
or sale syndicates (which should prove very helpful 
to the grower in getting his own) for such loans — 
the security being personal or the standing crop. 

Prosperous rural areas are few and far 
between; and in the average rural condition 
the formation of land mortgage banks with smaU 
village jurisdictions would not be practicable: the 
directorate of such local banks could not command 
sufficient confidence for making their debenture 
bonds convertible in the market. The suitable 
jurisdiction for a bank of this type would therefore 
be a district, within which the number of 


95 

landholders fit for receiving help from the bank 
would be fairly large. Every loan would be advised- 
ly paid to the borrower, three-fourths immediately 
on the execution of the loan bond, the rest during 
the next agricultural season. For, during the first 
year after borrowing from a land mortgage bank 
the debtor would natui*ally want some money for 
agricultural working expenses, but at that period 
he would be unable to find accommodation anywhere. 
This arrangement would further take down the size 
of the sanctionable loan to about 38 per cent, of 
the value of land (for redemption from prior debt) 
keeping by about twelve per cent for working 
expenses during the first one or two years. 
Apparently a hard rule for heavily indebted land- 
owners, this precaution would enormously help land 
mortgage banks in avoiding limping borrowers. 

Though expressly to be run on business lines, 
the banks must be viewed by Govermnents as 
specially intended for the benefit of the smaller 
landowners: not agricultural, but social, conditions 
do justify this aim. Loans to absentee landholders 
would for two reasons — ^the principle of encourag- 
ing cultivating o^yners, the fact of the absentee 
landlord's income being less from his lands than the 
cultivating owner's (other things being equal)— be 
inadvisable. The maximum and minimum size of 
loans sanctionable would have to be somewhere at 
Ks. 10,000 and Rs. 100. There should not be any 
fear of large funds becoming locked up in few hands 
on account of the seemingly high maximum; for, 
the directors would naturally be responsible for 
administering the funds available as fairly as 
possible. On the other hand, if the maximum should 
be fixed at, say, Rs. 5,000, even middle class 
agriculturists would be unconditionally excluded 
from getting effective assistance. The minimum 
limit of Rs. 100 is of fmidamental importance. The 


96 

1925 Committee on Malnad Improvement in Mysore 
suggest fixing the minimum at Es. 500: "the 
Committee do not apprehend that there will be any 
difficulty in finding a sufficient number of small 
borrowers in each locality for forming co-operative 
societies for borrowing the money from the central 
bank and distribute the amounts among their mem- 
bers.'' This seems to be too sanguine a 
view of rural business talent. A minimum higher 
than Rs. 100 would certainly defeat the basic pur- 
pose of land mortgage banks 'in India. As an anology 
the fixation by the Post Office of four annas as the 
minimum amoimt for a Savings Bank accomit, may 
be cited. 

Productivity of land is yet poor though 
resources are generally good. If land banks should 
charge a rate of interest higher than seven and a 
half per cent, on loans, it is doubtful how far the 
debtors would be able to maintain themselves and pay 
interest and part principal year after year. Govern- 
ment guarantee should be able to invite capital at 
seven per cent, and a half per cent must be taken 
as sufficient margin (the working expenses of the 
banks being met by Government either through 
direct grants or by offer of deposits of trust funds, 
etc., at concession rates of interest) . The Connnittee 
referred to above recommended nine per cent: in 
practical working this would perhaps prove too 
high. 

Difficulties in valuing land and estimating 
productivity thereof, risks involved in taking 
garden land as security, the absence of a Record of 
Land Rights (except in Bombay), the improvidence 
and illiteracy of the agricultural classes, 
probabihties of hardships to debtors and creditors 
in the transitional stage, fears of opp^ression by 
Government officials — ^these are of a kind of cons 


97 

which are always there in any measure or institu- 
tion, proposed or worJdng: safeguard against these 
lies in proper selection of the bank personnel and 
cautious guidance and supervision by Departmental 
Heads and Members of Governments. 


CHAPTER IX 


RURAL LIFE IN INDIA. 


Census of Indi% 1921. 

The Census of Iiodia, volumes 1 and 2^ compiled 
by Mr, J". T. Marten, I.C.S., and issued by the Gov- 
ernment of India, are of very great importance : they 
on the one hand present to the reader the history of 
tbe population in India over the past decade and the 
causes which influenced the course of such a history, 
in a crystallised form : -on the other, the volumes are 
the inevitable basis for all observations and calcula- 
tions about the Indian population for the decade 
1921-1930. 

The direction of the Grovernment of India that 
much space need not be given to general conditions, 
geographical, geological, physical, meteorological 
and ethnical characteristics was wise. As Mr. 
Marten rightly put it: ''The elemental founda- 
tions remain. Her ancient and mysterious faiths 

have not removed the mountains habit and 

race persist beneath the development of political and 
social character which the levelling influences of pro- 
gressing civihsation induce.'' On the other hand, 
special attention was paid in the last census to the 
collection of statistical and general information 
bearing on the industrial and economic side of the 
life of the people. 

The area of the Indian Empire is 1,805,392 
square miles, and the mteresting point is that in 
1921 the area of India was found to be 2,675 square 
miles more than in 1911. This shows how far we 
yet are from anything like a scientific survey of the 
whole of India. Indian States occupy an area of 
711,032 square miles or 39 per cent of the total area. 
The Indian population on the census night was 
318,942,480 out of which the Indian States had 


99 

71,939,187 persons or 23 per cent of the wliole. 
Thus the population per square mile works out at 
177 for the whole of India, 226 for British India and 
101 for the States. The increase in population com- 
pared to 1911 is only 1.2 per cent. : compared to 1882, 
the rise in population is only 20.1 per cent. During 
the last war, the maximum number of Indian troops 
fighting out of India at any one time was 125,800, 
while the total number of Indian deaths in that War 
was 58,238. Influenza was the greatest scourge to 
India in 1911 — ^20, the total recorded mortality 
having been at least 8.5 million ! And in many cases, 
Mr. Marten observes there was nobody to record the 
deaths 1 While 125 million or 2-5th of the entire 
population was affected by this terrible disease, Mr. 
Marten believes that at least 12 or 13 million must 
have died. 

The difficult nature of census operations is re- 
vealed when the Census Commissioner admits that in 
spite of all attempts, actual enumeration could not 
be had of about 2.5 per cent, of the population. 90 
per cent, of the people were enumerated iu the dis- 
tricts in which they were born! A stronger proof for 
the immobility of the Indian population could not 
be thought of. The urban population amounted to 
32.5 million out of which 24 million or about 7 per 
cent, of the population lived in towns having more 
than 10,000 population. The birth-rate for the inter 
censal period was 36 per mille of population in 
British India while the death rate was 34 per mille. 
It is a pity that the value of many diagrams and 
tables is lessened on account of their being only for 
British India. The Census is for the whole of India 
and there is no reason why States should not be in- 
cluded under every head. If some tables are for 
British India and some for the whole of India there 
is much scope for confusion or miscalculation. It 
.should be hoped that at least by 1931 the Govern- 


100 

ment of India would arrange for figures and statis- 
tics being more exhaustive and more uniform. 

While the increase in population depends upon 
the difference between the birth-rate and the death- 
rate and while it is a fact that both the birth-rate 
and the death-rate are high in India, it still remains 
an important question as to whether this 318.9 mil- 
lion of population is too much for this Continent of 
India. Mr. Marten seems a fatalist and a. pessimist 
He says, ^^In an agricultural country famine is 
merely one of the recognised extremes in the obvious 
relation between population and food. Epidemics 
such as malaria, the disease of waste-lands, and 
cholera seem to be bound up with the climate and 
physical conditions of the country and are familiar 
ia every degree of intensity. Even plague is recognis- 
ed as a disease of congested areas and has a close 
connection with the aggregation of population .... 
Unless, as is extremely unlikely, there is some revo- 
lutionary change ia the outlook of the mass of the 
people towards marriage, it seems impossible that 
there will be any general downward movement of the 
birthrate in India for many years to come.^^ 

The problem is a grave one but a psychology 
like that of Mr. Marten cannot be of much use in 
furthering the happiness and prosperity of India. 
A high birth-rate by itself is no curse, but it turns 
out to be such when unaccompanied by a 
corresponding rise in food-supply. And before 
concluding as to whether the birth-rate in India ia 
ominously high or not, we should see whether the 
causes at work for the high death-rate are unavoid- 
able. Mr. Marten says they are. But to 
us it seems that they are not. And our 
plea is that the responsibility for the re- 
moval of such causes for the high death-rate devol- 
ves to a large exent on the State in India. Cannot 
the food production in India be increased? Is the 


101 

system of distribution we have been having of the 
social dividend a fair one ? Have adequate facilities 
been given to the mass of Indian population in re- 
gard to medical and sanitary relief, education and 
''a fair day's wage for a fair day's labour''? If in 
a Nature-gifted country like India, Mr. Marten 
speaks of the inevitability of diseases like malaria 
and plague and calamities like famine, it either 
means that the economic potentialities of India have 
not yet been fully understood or that the magnitude 
of the numbers has weighed down the optimism of 
people like Mr. Marten. ''She is at a point where 
her population is controlled by disease and disease 
only" declares the author. We would conclude this 
part of our discussion by saying that it is rather out 
of date for people, specially for a State like the one 
in India, to believe that disease is a Heaven sent 
v3urse that caimot be prevented or remedied. 

The situation seems more appalling and the ten- 
dency toward pessimism becomes greater when we 
see the deplorably high rate of infant mortality in 
India. The Bombay Census Commissioner writes 
about the City of Bombay: ''Of every two infants 
bom, one has to die before reaching the age of 12 
months," In the whole of British India, the Infant 
death rate amounts to about one-fifth of the total 
death rate for all ages, and about oiie- fifth of the 
children die before the age of one year. Over 40 
per cent, of the deaths of infants occur in the first 
week after birth and ovei 60 per cent, in the liist 
month* 

The causes which Mr. Marten enumerates for 
such a calamity have nothing new about them: ^'On 
the one hand the vitality of the mother and thi^ough 
her the life of the child appear to be affected by the 
age at which child-bearing begins, the number of 
births (or pregnancies) and especially the spacing 
of births : on the other hand, the health of the child 


102 


is closely allied with the circumstances frequently- 
associated with large families, namely, poverty, con- 
gestion, mahautrition, insanitary surroundings and 
the improvidence and ignorance 'of parents- 
Since 1881, the author tells us, there has been a fall 
of 24.6 per cent in the child mortality 'of France, 15.8 
per cent in that of England, 22.7 in Switzerland, 20' 
in Denmark and 27.6 in Australia. 

Here again the question arises — ^Is this popua- 
tion of India doomed to suffer like this on accoimt of 
racial wealaiess ? To our mind it seems that there is 
no cause for any such apprehension. The two 
causes for all this are poverty .and 
disease and the two remedies seem to 
be a more equitable distribution of the national 
dividend and the assumption of responsibility for 
l>roviding adequate sanitary and medical relief by 
the State. These are transferred subjects and Pro- 
vincial Legislative Comicils and Ministers have full 
liberty to do what they please in the matter. 

Taken to mean ability to read and write a letter,, 
the total nimiber of literates in India is 22.6 million^ 
If children under five years of age be left out of ac- 
count the percentage works at 8.2. The percentage 
for males is 13.9, for females 2.1. In the case of 
males, the percentage of literates is highest between 
ages 15 and 20, behig 17.4. In Cochin, Travancore 
and Mysore, the percentage 'of literacy is pretty high^ 
^^ The strength of the Christian Church with its wide- 
educational organisation has done much to raise the 
standard of literacy in South India, specially in the 
States of Cochin and Travancore where as also in 
Mysore, the progress is also due to- the energy -of the- 
administration in furthering educational advance- 
ment, a very high proportion of the higher castes 
in these States being now literate.'' 3.5 million 
people are literate in English, 1.6 per cent, of the- 
males and .18 per cent of the females . 


103 


224 million 'or 71 per cent of the population sup- 
ports itself on agriculture proper. Industries sup- 
port ten percent of the population, ^'but the bulk of 
these are engaged in unorganised industries connect- 
ed with the supply of personal and household necessi- 
ties and the simple implements of work." Organis- 
ed industries occupy only one percent of the people. 
Trade and transport maintain 6 and 2 per cent of the 
population. When we remember the manifold ways 
m which the progressive States in Europe and in 
America raised the conditions of their respective peo- 
ples in various ways and when we see that here in 
India there is a large amount of wastage of labour 
on account of maladjustment and lack of better 
methods of work, we cannot but go back to the same 
conclusion we drew in earlier paragraphs. Even so 
recently as in 1921-22, the State spent in India (Cen- 
tral and Provincial Governments put together) 36 
per cent, of the total expenditure on mihtary services. 
11 per cent on railways, 8 per cent 'on public debts, 9 
per cent on police and jails but only 4 per cent on 
education (25 per cent, is being spent in the U. S. A. 
on education), 2 per cent on forests, 2 on irrigation, 
2 percent on ptihlic health and medical relief and one 
percent on agricnltnre. "We do not mean any com- 
ment on the size of the military budget which is de- 
termined by several factors outside the scope of this 
review, but we do say that education, agriculture, 
sanitary and medical relief — ^these demand m^gently 
i\ more enlightened State iDolicy. To our mind, it 
seems, the real and effective remedy for the ills of 
this ancient land lies here. 

Stmidard of Life in Rural India: 

An Inquiry in the Malnad. 

IsTothing like a scientific department for regular- 
ly studying rural budgets has yet been organised in 
India. A few investigations held here and there 


104 

liave led to no definite conclusions. Some hold that 
efficiency must increase before any thought of rais- 
ing the standard of life can be legitimately harbour- 
ed; some believe that, reciprocal to some extent as 
the standard of efficiency and the standard of living 
are in influence, a rise in the standard of life is of 
primary importance : without this an increase in effi- 
ciency cannot be conceived of. In this connection 
the following data may be of some interest. 

562 families (2,771 persons) — comprising the 
population of nine villages in different parts of the 
Mysore Malnad — ^were examined last year in as de- 
tailed a manner as possible, on the spot. This inten- 
sive survey was conducted in two stretches with a 
fortnight's interval. The expenditure budgets in 
the first five villages (387 families: 1,921 persons) 
showed the annual expenditure per head of popula- 
tion at Rs. 68-11-8, the figure for the other four 
villages was Rs. 80-14-7. Poor as the entire popula- 
tion in the Malnad was, the condition of people in 
the latter villages was better than in the first five. 

Items of expenditure considered were the fol- 
lowing: (1) Food, (2) Clothing — ^including bedding, 
(3) Drink — ^intoxicating, (4) Housing — ^repairing 
charge or rent, (5) Social and religious expenditure 
— ^including items like marriage and funeral expen- 
ses and charity, (6) Interest payment, (7) Repay- 
ment of debt, (8) Sanitary charges, (9) Education- 
al charges, (10) Medical expenses, (11) Travel, (12) 
Litigation, (13) Other miscellaneous. Local annual 
average prices were taken as standard while compil- 
ing the expenditure budgets. Calculations on the 
basis of a money economy do not always suit rural 
conditions. Yet experience shows that at present 
when money is fast entering into village life, a mone- 
tary calculation alone is the most satisfactory thougK 
not reaching the ideal. 


105 

In 1924, the Central Jail, Bangalore, spent 
Hs- 131-4-4 per head of convict in the 
Jail for the year. The huge difference between Rs. 
131-4-4 on the one hand and Rs. 80-14-7 and Rs. 
68-11-8 on the other deserves serious consideration : 
the first figure typifies the standard of expenditure 
considered commensurate to the needs of prisoners 
by Grovernment, the latter figures represent what is 
being actually incurred per head of population in 
rural areas — ^rather in a specially backward rural 
area like the Mysore Mahiad. 

One big difference between the Jail and the rural 
homes was that in the former there were hardly any 
children, whereas about a third of the 2,771 persons 
referred to above were children. It might be con- 
tended that adults consume more food, entail more 
expenditure. But it seems to the writer that this 
difference, big as it was, was much more than made 
up by the fact that expenditure under Item Nos- 3, 
4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13 (enumerated above) incurred 
by the villagers, were practically non-existent in the 
case of prisoners. The Establishment and Medical 
expenditure borne in the Jail appears to work at 
much less per head than in the villages, for in the 
Jail these charges connote a high level of organisa- 
tion and a careful safeguarding of good health by 
qualified saaiitary and medical inspection and aid. 
The waste in various directions to which the rustic 
is a victim and the undeserved tributes he pays to all 
sorts of quacks amount to a much heavier incidence. 
So that tbe clear conclusion from these figures and 
observations is that on nutritious food and congenial 
clothing much more is being spent on the J ail popu- 
lation per head than in many a rural area. The fol- 
lowing Jail details must further support this 
inference : — 


106 


Food for each prisoner (rigorous imprison- 
ment) per day. 

Rag] — 20 oz. s. 
Dhal — 4 oz. s. 

Meat — i oz. s. (On Saturdays in lieu of 2 oz. 
of dhal). 

Gingelly oil— 3116 oz. 
Tamarind — 1|8 oz. 
Salt— 3|4 oz. 
Curry powder — 1 1 2 oz. 
Onions — ^112 oz. 
Vegetables — 1 oz. 
Firewood — 14 oz. s. 

Clothing per year. 

Male and Juvenile. — 

1 short jacket. 
1 short drawers. 

1 short trousers. 

2 small I'umhlis. 
1 cap. 

1 lumjoti. 

Female. — 

1 cloth of 6 yd. s. 
1 jacket. 

1 petticoat. 

2 small liiimWis, 

Every prisoner in a ward shall be allowed not. 
less than 36 sq. feet of ground space and 500 cubic- 
feet of breathing space. 

It would naturally be asked — ^How is it possible- 
for villagers to live on such low averages of expencli- 
tuxe while the rations in jails constitute about tlie 
minimum required for the maintenance of physical 
health? The explanation seems to lie in three diree- 


107 

tions. I^irstly, the rural families supplemented 
their actual expenditure on food, etc., by depending 
as much as possible on charitable or philanthropic 
institutions or persons in their respective areas (tem- 
ples, mutts, begging for alms, free feeding on festive 
occasions in rich houses, \Yearing cast off old clothes 
of others, etc). The amomit of disservice that is 
being done to-day by such institutions and persons 
in helping to maintain a lamentable Idnd of fatalism 
and irresponsibility, has hardly been appreciated 
generally. 

Secondly, a further supplement was made in the 
shape of fruits and roots, vegetables and leaves, fuel 
(and small game and fish in a very few cases) direct 
from ISTature. The villager saved a considerable 
amount of expenditure by this kind of stuff got in. 
This very often did not mean true economy, for the 
procedure was not optional and, except where Na- 
ture was specially kind (as for example in South 
Canara where fiish coidd be had for the trouble of 
fishing on any part of the long coast-line), it led to 
niiraerous diseases. 

Thirdly, the rural population seemed to try to 
stifle appetite rather than to meet it properly. Whe- 
ther a commodity consumed was nutritious and 
health-giving was hardly considered. Many made 
gruel (ganji) in the morning: it meant less grain 
coaisumption. Rice beer (^akMhoja) was an univer- 
sal food-drink prepared at home— with the same 
idea of managing with as smaU an amount of f ood- 
gi-ain as possible. A good many untouchables freely 
used the decaying or decayed flesh of dead domestic 
animals- 

TnefSciency was writ large on the face of almost 
every person in the nine villages: no power of con- 
centration, no attention, no interest in life, yet 
they were possessed by a peculiar kind of suspicion,. 


108 


a precocious knowledge of legal rights. Child luor- 
tahty was huge in numbers. 

It may be, at any rate it must be, hoped that 
conditions in other rural parts of India are not so 
bad as in the Mysore Malnad. But we can no longer 
live upon conjectures and hopes. The immediate 
necessity for the organisation of intensive surveys 
in all parts of the country must be patent from the 
facts given above. With regard to the difficulty of 
getting correct information, experience in the Mal- 
nad showed that once pubhc opinion was created in 
the village (by means of a meeting of the heads of 
families in the village) that the investigation was 
desirable, the poor confesesd their all, the rich could 
not hide for fear of verification and on promise of 
records being confidential with regard to names. 

lAfe Among VntoucliaMes 

Glimpses from the Mysore Malnad. 

Abolition of imtouchability has been accepted as 
a desirable objective by practically all parties in this 
country, and Governments all roiund are busy opening- 
up general and special facilities for the "uplift'' of 
this "depressed" class, like free studentships and 
scholarships, admission to the ordinary schools, es- 
tablishment of special schools, representation in le- 
^slative councils, preferential treatment in recriiit- 
ing for Government service, etc. Several Associa- 
tions and individuals have been ardently workijag 
for removing the disabilities under which the "pan- 
chamas" (members of the fifth caste ia the Hindu 
fold) are labouring. While all this efeort at social 
maprovement is praiseworthy, yet few attempts seem 
to have been made to study the life, domestic and so- 
cial, led by the untouchables, to locate root causes -for 
their backwardness, and then to adopt definite steps 
to eradicate such causes. 


109 


Out of 562 families (2771 persons) examined 
by the writer in the Mysore Mahiad, 139 fami- 
lies (623 persons) were of this caste. It was 
a general habit among them to feed on the flesh 
of dead domestic animals in their respective villages. 
Many lived upon field rats where available- In the 
season (for about three months in the year) most 
of the families lived largely upon jack-fruit — ^not 
the fruit separated from the extra-ordinarily thick 
rind, bufc the whole which got an acid taste when cut 
across and exposed for a day or two. When man 
or woman went out to work as a coolie it was custo- 
mary for the employer to feed the coolie ; but while 
in earlier days rations were given for being cooked 
by the labourers themselves, the practice is now-a- 
days growing of the employer distributing the rem- 
nants of his own kitchen — in many cases in a half 
spoilt condition. As a mle they never purchased 
any clothes or what constituted their beds : they de- 
pended entirely on presentation of old clothes by the 
better-to-do. Even where Government wells were 
sunk for their benefit these poor folk preferred using 
stagnant water in pits: they had no ropes nor me- 
tallic vessels to venture to the wells, they had no in- 
clination to exert so much for drawing up water from 
such depths. They lived under roofs which were 
much worse than hovels, it was a case of annual re- 
construction — ^no repairs were possible. The huts 
were so small and low that even though they were 
in the open the house space emitted an awful smeU 
due to the food they consumed or preserved and their 
ignorance of the bathing process. 

Intemperance was prevalent in the extreme, 
80 much so that this was the main cause for their 
prodigal imprudence and notorious unreliabilitv. 
How deep-rooted the vice was can be imagined from 
the fact that the penalty imposed to expiate many a 
moral offence was the entertaimnent of the comma- 


110 

nity with toddy (country fermented liquor)— the 
amount of toddy varying directly with the gravity 
of the offence. 

They were grossly superstitious : on the average 
^every plot of arable land, every fruit tree, was asso- 
ciated with three devils and the expenses incurred by 
them in propitiating their village deity (a prominent 
devil) periodically was disproportionately large. 

Socially, they were divided into numerous small 
f2;roups among which inter-marriage w^as forbidden. 
The relative scarcity 'of women was responsible for 
a heavy dow^ry system (^'theras'^ — fines compensat- 
ing the parents of the bride). Many young women 
were deliberately prevented from marrying so that 
the parents might get as high prices as possible, but 
in the meanwhile the former took to cohabitation with 
men who preferred this relation because they could 
not afford the theras. Such cohabitation led in many 
cases to promiscuity. At Humchada Katte there 
were 22 panchama houses among which the institu- 
tion of marriage had been abolished. Each house 
was in the possession of a woman and each such wo- 
man had a number of cohabiting mates — each keep- 
ing on so long as the woman liked — or contemporari- 
ly. Children were known only by the mother ^s name, 
and mothers w^ere unable to give the fathers^ names 
of children. Six of the women suffered from gonor- 
rhea, and infant mortality was highest among these 
22 families out of the 562 examined. 

A decade or two ago many were occupants of 
land, according to local reports, but by 1925 they had 
all become landless labourers. In nmnbers too they 
dwindled in that region: some migrated to coffee es- 
tates and towns, many famihes died away owing to 
starvation and neglect. The panchamas knew many 
handicrafts before,such as making of mats and bas- 
kets, stitching of rough footwear, etc., but of late they 


Ill 

.•gave up all such industries partly on account of com- 
petition from distant industrial centres and partly on 
accomit of improvidence. They are all unskilled la- 
bourers noWj yet as rough coolies they showed a pro- 
mising level of docility and endurance. Their la- 
bour is in miiversal demand in the Malnad, still they 
manage to employ themselves only for about eight 
months in the year. As a rule they require the bait 
of an advance and this cuts both ways : it reduces un- 
reasonably the real wage of the coolie, it often- 
times entails loss of capital to the employer — the 
eoolie many a time bolts away with w^hole or part of 
the advance still on his head. 

Many real difficulties were in the way of enter- 
inising, panchamas becoming occupants; the big- 
landlords always tried their best to prevent 'such a 
phenomenon by unhealthy overbidding for darkast 
lands and by keeping extensive plots of arable land in 
their occupancy without cultivation. But so far as op- 
portmiities for w^ork were concerned there did not 
seem to be any impediments : on the farm any distinc- 
tion between bralunana and panchama was unknown. 

Out of 623 panchamas medically examined, 343 
were declared as suffering from some disease or 
other, 164 suffered from chronic malaria. The 
figures for the whole Survey were — ^2771 total num- 
ber of persons examined, 1409 diseased persons, 1003 
suffering from chronic malaria. 

From this brief account it will be seen that the 
wonder is not that the panchamas in the Malnad are 
so backward but *that they have managed to keep on 
as they are. Of all castes examined it looked as if 
this community was possessed of the most stubborn 
vitality : indeed these untouchables constitute the as- 
set and the hope for the future. Economic ineffleien- 
<ej seems to have been responsible for all their ills. 
IsTeither a literary education that is generally avail- 


112 

able in this country at present nor an undue rousing^ 
of the class consciousness in them by forcing them in- 
to temples or by making a few of them taste the 
sweets of office and the stimulants of democracy, ap- 
pears to be the effective means for improving the lot 
of this unfortunate class. The two measures that 
ought to prove beneficial, judged from actualities, 
appear to be firstly the organisation of co-operative 
producers' societies (specially for this class, and in 
the begimiing under Government management) in 
localities where the untouchables have any artisan 
traditions still left, and the passing of a minimum 
wage act (to be administered by local bodies) spe- 
cially for the benefit of agricultural labour. 


CHAPTER X 


LABOUR. 

Greater India"? 

Greater India! To any one who has given some 
serious thought to the question of Indiana emigration 
and the status of Indians overseas, this phrase 
must sound like a piece of satirical irony. The Gov- 
ernment of India's prohibition of indentured labour 
from India had the most rational grounds, and the 
humiliation and worry and expenditure the Govern- 
ment and the people are incurring at this moment 
over our fellow-countrymen fighting against tremen- 
dous odds in South Africa is an evil sufficient — more 
than sufficient — ^imto the day. That when the Class 
Areas Bill in South Africa is just -on the anvil the 
Indian Legislature should agree to a notification per- 
mitting emigration ^'for the purpose of unskilled 
work'' to British Guiana is verily the most 
unkindest cut of all. Even as now in Guiana, earlier 
in South Africa and Kenya and JsTew Zealand and 
Piji, Indians were wanted — ^to clear forests, pile up 
irrigation works, build houses, sink wells, etc. But 
when once the spade work was done, Indians were no 
longer wanted: they might stay if they liked as cooli- 
es, but it was preposterous on their part to aspire to 
citizenship and equal status with the whites who mo- 
nopolised the powerful factors of production — enter- 
prise, capital and land. As in the case of Africa, so 
in the case of America, no man with common sense 
should expect illiterate unskilled emigrants to re- 
ceive considerate treatment (leave alone favoured), 
in foreign lands — colour or no colour. Those peo- 
ple only are fit to emigrate (and if possible found 
political or economic empires) who have capital 
resources, who have the backing of a 
powerful ^^big'' State, who at least are educated 
free citizens of a free country. In the Guiana 

8 


114 

scheme, Indians if allowed to go out would not be 
able to satisfy any of these conditions. A later stage 
is bound to come when another Paddison Deputation 
and another C. F. Andrews would have to make pil- 
grimages to far-off South- America. 

Mr. Bhore talked of ''terms'^ and ^^undertak- 
ings.'' One really wonders how the Assembly swal- 
lowed these terms. Terms are marred as well as 
made by Governments, and each succeeding G-ovem- 
ment is at perfect liberty to proceed as it likes — em- 
pire or republic. Were there no pledges given to 
Indians in South Africa? Were the repatriation 
campaign and the Class Areas Bill ever dreamt of by 
the early Indian emigrants and the contemporary 
Government of India ? Does the South African con- 
stitution permit in its spirit any infringement of the 
rights of Indians in the Cape Colony? Are not In- 
dians in South Africa British subjects''? Yes, 
they are, but the whites have latterly become 
British subjects of European descent." At 
least now, after all these bitter experiences, we ought 
fully to realise that it is the struggle for 
existence alone that really operates in actual life: 
morality is a nice garb to put on when it suits, at 
other times it is left in the churches 
or distinguishes monomaniacs. The need for 
man power within the country was not at all properly 
gauged by the Assembly, Mr. Bhore spoke as though 
there were some people in this country whom he liked 
to see in other lands. Indian agriculture is an ave- 
nue of employment which requires millions of work- 
ers; different parts of India, for example, Hydera- 
bad, Mysore and Travancore, are advertising for im- 
migrants who would have all facilities for the asking. 
In 1923-24 the acreage of uncultivated but cultivable 
land in this country was 232,924,000. In the 
British Isles there is a scheme which is being work- 
ed now for settling Britishers on small farms in that 


115 

country. This is being done with a view to safe- 
gTiard the adequacy of man-power more than to 
.avoid a serious unemployment problem. In India 
we want a national army, an Indian navy; we want 
Indianisation in all possible directions. Will it be 
a wise step to send out unskilled labour which on the 
whole has the best physique? Greater India! The 
phrase in tinged with the venom of imperial ambi- 
tion. India has no place in Gruiana: the Guianese 
.and the neighbouring peoples — of today and 
-of to-morrow— have the best claims for those 
lands, and it would be a criminal thought indeed — at 
the same time pitiable — for subject India to conceive 
•of greater India. 

In new countries, Indian'' and coolie" are 
being used as synonymous terms. This tribute being 
paid to India is a heritage of the past — ^thanks to 
the altruistic policy of the Governments of those 
days in India. Shall we add further sup- 
port to the perpetuation of this nomenclature? 
Mr. Bhore hinted that those who are consi- 
dered as xmtouchables here may find better pros- 
pects in Guiana : they must go there, otherwise it will 
be ^^hopeless'' for them here. It passes one^s rea- 
son to follow the psychology of the Government of 
India which says about this much : the problem of un- 
touchability cannot be solved here, but it can be 
•overcome outside India, by the Government 
of British Guiana! It is no wonder 
that General Smuts and his followers look 
with disdain upon such acquiescence at 
home and protest abroad against ohgarchical 
institutions. Untouchability has disappeared, it 
is fast disappearing, it is not there in the broad day- 
light of India. Furthermore, untouchability there 
has never been in India in matters economic. On the 
farm it is the so-called xmtouchables that are most 
valued, their co-operation is universally welcomed. 


116 

Let us not be so stupid as to pack off the depressed- 
classes or any appreciable portion thereof. We- 
must raise them, it is the duty of the Provincial 
legislatures to give the necessary legislative help to 
them. 

Rather, the necessity of the hour is a clearer- 
realisation of the greatness of India economically. 
On a modest estimate it can be asserted that this 
country must be able to maintain double the present 
population, with a fair level of organisation and 
efficiency in productive methods. Avenues of 
employment to which the nationals must have 
access sooner -or later, have not been availed 
of till now: military and naval service,, 
industrial occupation, agricultural work, these must 
be able to employ millions and millions more than at 
present. Before actually permitting Indians to 
leave for Guiana, the Government will do well and 
wisely to consider if this land itself does not need the 
number intending to go out. A well-organised, self- 
reliant, dignified India — ^this should be the right 
ideal. Shall we not remember that the prime cause 
for the last world war was the ambition of the Con- 
tinental Powers for wider ^ ^empires,'' spheres of 
influence ' ^ and ^ ^ zones ' \ 

Agricultural Tenants : 

Stay an the Land Must he Encouraged. 

A powerful cause for the present by no means^ 
enviable lot of agricultural tenants as a class, for 
their consequent emigration in increasing numbers to 
urban areas, has been the rise of a series of middle- 
men between the State, which is held to be the owner 
of all land in India, and the actual tillers of the soil— 
''links between the Government and the masses'' as 
the chairman of a recent Zamindars' Conference put 


117 


it. Though ryotwari and zamindari are the two big va- 
rieties 01 landholding in this country, modification of 
general principles in view of local circumstances and 
traditions in the past, has left for us a legacy of 
highly complicated and varying systems of land te- 
nure. Social status has always been attached to 
landholding, and, thanks to the attractions of town 
life and the popular belief in the absolute absence of 
any risk ui investment of capital on purchasing land, 
-absentee landlords are fast swelling in numbers, re- 
lying more and more upon agents. 

This growing divorce between the cultivator and 
the resourceful noncultivating zamindar has beeii 
responsible for the lowering of the ideal of the for- 
mer to one of subsistence. Uncertain seasonal con- 
ditions, ignorance, lack of resources, poverty of fore- 
thought—such factors have co-operated in rendering 
the tenant a helpless being normally on the verge of 
insolvency, and therefore a habitual victim to moral 
despondency. In Bengal, in the Punjab, in Mysore, 
in Madras, the cultivator who carries on for others 
has no means for introducing improvements and the 
-absentee landlord has no interest in the estate, except 
that of rent-receiving. Various kinds of legal and 
illegal feudal dues and cesses are being imposed up- 
on the tenants : in some tracts as in the Mysore Mal- 
nad, the tenants are bound, by tradition, to the land: 
they are de facto serfs even to-day. 

On questions of ejection and of rent-raising 
the Calcutta High Court and the Mysore Chief 
Court have declared themselves on the side of the 
7.amindar, insisiing upon documentary evidence for 
proving the rights of tenants in the absence of which 
the tenants would be treated as tenants at will. In 
the case of leases of lands for a period, it was found 
that the general practice in the Malnad was for the 
^zamindars to levy 55 per cent, penal interest on de- 
^fault by the tenant: the latter has to sign a printed 


118 

form usually, agreeing to such abominable condi- 
tions. 

Therefore, the central objective which the Ap^ri- 
cultural Commission ought to place before them- 
selves in this connection seems to be the removal of 
the middlemen between the State and the actual cul- 
tivator. A landed aristocracy has been of great ser- 
vice in a country like England, but in this country 
even the zamindars themselves must admit that their 
good poiut lies in professions about the future, not 
in the history of the past, nor even of the recent past : 
compare the attitude of that class towards the Bengal 
the Oudh and the Malabar Tenancy Bills. Con- 
quest, presentation on account of some temporal or- 
religious service in the past or in the future, purchase- 
for consideration paid, — such sanctions lie behind 
these middlemen's privileges and their ancestors. 
IsTational welfare requires that such hereditary impo- 
sitions on the masses should be done away with : the- 
Agricultural Commission will do well to discuss the- 
advisability or otherwise of appointing a Standing 
Commission to deal with big absentee landlords (aj:? 
contrasted with zamindars staying on the land and 
sharing in the work) and award reasonable compen- 
sations to these parasites on land who must retire:, 
such a thing is being done to-day in Hyderabad with 
regard to mansa]bs (hereditary pensions). 

The reform suggested here is a radical one, and 
it might be argued that it savours of Bolshevism- 
Far from that. The actual conditions of our agri- 
cultural population (as contrasted with the arm chair 
zamindars who as a rule have not maintained a high 
level of conduct or public morality) are so sickening 
that, if improvement should come at all, it must be- 
the outcome of some decisive and daring surgical 
operations: the ^^foreign^^ matter harassing the- 
agricultural organism must be ruthlessly removed- 
This would be entirely consistent with the theory of 


119 


State ownership of land: ownership ought not to be 
divided among an indefinite number of parties. 
Some might contend that the terms of reference do 
not authorise the Agricultural Commission to handle 
this subject, but the general authority vested in them 
to consider all means whereby agricultural improve- 
ment could be realised, appears to be quite adequate 
for the Commission to move in the matter. 

Towards the realisation of the same main ob- 
jective, certain corollary steps would also have to be 
taken. Firstly the passing of a law to the effect that 
occupied agricultural land which lies uncultivated 
continuously for, say, ten years^ should be made 
available to dairkastdars (applicants for land) if any 
— the authorities in such circumstances automatical- 
ly getting the right to view such land as unoccupied^ 
would give much better scope to aspirants to occu- 
pancy rights in addition to cultivation burdens. Se- 
condly, small bits of land, suitable for cultivation 
even if included under '^forest", should be granted 
to applicant ryots : in many rural tracts all cultiva- 
ble land having any attraction about it happens to be 
occupied, and if a landless tenant wants to have a 
small bit of land as his own, there is no way for it : 
a recommendation to this effect was made by the 
writer to the Mysore Government, and the Special 
Committee accepted it. 

Thirdly, special attention must be paid to the 
small cultivating owners, present and potential, by 
excluding non-cultivating occupants from the bene- 
fits of land mortgage banks (which are about to be 
started in all parts of the country) And the mini- 
mum loan from such banks should be put so low as 
Rs. 100. Also the banks should be empowered 
to sanction small loans (in hundreds) to land- 
less tenants for the purpose of purchasing land 
and starting agricultural operations on their own 
account. 


120 

Fourthly, the small tenant must be given special 
protection similar to that which has been given in 
some Provinces to Government servants getting Rs. 
20 or less per month: the pay of such people 
camiot be attached by any court of law, the underly- 
ing idea being that in such cases the whole of the pay 
is absolutely necessary for the physical maintenance 
of the men and their families- In almost all Pro- 
vinces, policy amounts payable by Grovermnent Insu- 
rance Departments cannot be attached : they ate ex- 
pressly meant for the wives and children of the 
policy-holders. On the land, there are millions of 
tenants in India who cannot be sure even of Rs- 10 
a month : yet, G-overnments in India have till now re- 
frained from offering a helping hand. The principle 
would have to be legitimatised by legislation and 
local bodies would have to be authorised to fix up (in 
accordance to local conditions) minimimi extents of 
dry, wet and garden lands, the tenants oT cultivating 
owners of smaller holdings than which would have 
to be guaranteed a share (say 50 per cent.) of the ac- 
tual produce of land year after year. And this, ir- 
respective of contracts, or decrees by courts of law. 

Now what is happening is that when seasons 
prove bad or some other agricultural calamity oc- 
curs, Government and the middlemen generally in- 
sist upon their contracted shares (assessment and 
rent), but these can be paid only out of the just share 
of the tenants. A list of the tenants and oc- 
cupants who cultivate "sub-economic'* farms 
should be compiled, say once in five years 
by officers working under the local bodies, and such 
lists would have to be maintained in triplicate, one 
with ihe local board, one with the village accountant, 
and the third with the civil court having jurisdiction 
over the area. This concession to tenants is not for 
helping them to repudiate their just obligations, but 
to give them time enough, and to spread the hard- 



A typical agricultural laloacer of the IMaln^ul— Indigenous type. Chronic 
malaria is very widely prevalent among the lalonrers. 


121 

isMps of bad seasons, etc., over all parties sharing the 
income from land. 

Lastly, rural reconstruction requires a special 
agency : the ordinary governmental machinery is too 
•cumbrous and complex to respond to the special needs 
of agricultural tenants : and the task is of huge di- 
mensions. To start with, special officers must be put 
up in particularly backward areas in order to see if 
such offi'cers (much depends upon the choice of the 
personnel) could be of any tangible good in encourag- 
ing small cultivators to stay on the land. 

Mysore Planters and Estate Coolies 

The inquiring rambler can still find quite a large 
number of old men in the Malnad, whose heyday of 
life was in the days of the British Commission (1831- 
1881), and intelligent interrogations elicit from them 
quite a bright picture of Mahiad life in the last and 
first decades of the 19th and 20th centuries respec- 
tively; we have no Government records, no romantic 
novels, no chronicles of those days within our reach. 
Planters were then almost all European to whom Eu- 
ropean capital was available in large quantities and 
on very cheap terms : their coffee enjoyed a monopo- 
listic position in the world market The general 
price-level was low, an indigenous labour population 
grew plenty of food-grains (for which there were no 
annual corners as now) and had vested interests in, 
.and attachment to, the land they tilled and dug. Add 
to this their rational habits of life (part of their food 
was invariably ragi — a nutritious grain — ^sjupplemen- 
ting rice, they had no idea of distilled liquors though 
they enjoyed locally made fermented drinks, warm 
^md graceful kumbli attire protected them from the 
vagaries of Malnad weather, and in their economy 
they had a sound training from childhood in the 
school of agricultural Hf e: no schools : Malnad hones- 
ty Was proverbial), the Malnad was literally a snul- 


122 

ing land— the bulwark against famine and pestilence- 
in other parts of the Mysore State. 

By the post-war period the situation had materi- 
ally worsened: facility of capital supply became rela- 
tively atrophied to European planters who by then 
were put to the task of competing with Indian plan- 
ters (in many cases, these were ^'writers'' of the 
''sahebs'' before), the Mysore coffee was rivalled by 
shipments from Brazil and (later) Kenya, the plants 
began yielding less crop (it was believed) on account 
of their age as well as scarcity of manure, etc. A 
sudden rise in the general price level, the adverse in- 
fluence of the veneer of civilisation (which led them 
to fashionable but iU-protecting clothes, to the belief 
that distilled liquor was essential for the maintenance 
of good health in those regions) and the diminishing- 
attention of Government to the needs of those parts 
in the shape of upkeep of communication facilities — 
all this led to a progressive decimation of the Malnad 
population. The old set of planters gave place to a 
new class, the local labour population dwindled aw^ay,." 
and estates began to depend more and more upon 
below-Ghat (South Canara), Moplah and 
Konkani coolies. By 1925, eager as the 
Visvesvaraya and succeeding Governments 
were to do something for ^^Malnad Improve- 
ment,'' the estate coolies came to possess no vested 
interests in the region, no stake in the estate's pros- 
perity. Roughly speaking, they climbed up the 
Western Ghats in September for work on the estates- 
and in the gardens, and climbed dowm in April 
back to their sweet homes." The planter 
could no longer think of the years to comer 
he could not cherish any interest in the v^el- 
fare of ''his" coolies (they changed from year- 
to year very often). Above all, the labour agent— 
the ''maistry"or the ''saregar"— became all in alV 
<iictatmg in the same breath both to the employers^ 
and to the employed. 


123 

This is in brief the history of the present labour 
situation in the Malnad. A pernicious system of ad- 
vances and a devouring set of recruiting agents (who 
feed fat on commissions and discounts, more- 
discounts than commissions) have been res- 
ponsible for a highly demorahsed kind of 
sweating" among estate coolies. A correspondent 
wrote in the Times of India recently that on the aver- 
age a male coolie gofc six annas and a woman coolie 
four annas a day on the Mysore estates. This is 
near the actual charge borne by the paymaster, but 
investigations showed that the majority of these 
coolies received a net real wage ranging between 
twelve amias and one rupee per week after deducting 
instalments towards advances made, and slices cut 
off by the maistry. 

The 1921 Census showed 71,818 people in the IB 
Malnad taluks, as belonging to British India by birth. 
At least three-fourths of them must have been coolies 
from South Canara, and the Census was taken at a 
time (the month of March) when a good many of the- 
coolies had already returned to their homes below- 
Grhat after six months' work upcountry. Unfaith- 
fulness and immorality are rife among them now^ 
and at the critical time when planters require honesty 
steadfast and quick work, these labourers' are caus- 
ing not a little amount of a.nnoyance and loss by their^ 
unpunctuality, inefficiency and bad morals. On the 
one hand many a European planter (it is they who^ 
try to do welfare work among their coolies much 
more than Indian planters do) gets disgusted at the- 
imdeserving character of the workers. Coffee plan- 
tation on the other hand has had no extension 
over several years past: lakhs of acres of 
coffee kan" are in the occupation of land- 
holders, on which they pay assessment without 
cultivation. Thirdly, this dependence on 
migratory labour has been responsible for a huge- 


124 

^^ain on tlie Mysore State's wealth: what should 
have been the net savings, year after year, of these 
thousands of workers, does not remain in the land 
at all, but is wasted on frivolities like drink and 
marriage expenses (when advances are paid to 
coolies) : a few prudent ones even to-day invest their 
-actual savings in South Canara, 

The planters themselves do not seem to have 
fully realised the impending danger on account of 
.such a helpless dependence upon imreliable labour 
from far off. Some of them argue like this: 
Local labourers are scarce and costlj^: South 
Oanara labour is cheap when compared to the cost. 
We do not require labour in large numbers all the 
year round, and if the below-Ghat labourers go down 
to the seashore for six months in the year, it immen- 
.^ely restores their health, They know the work, and 
we had better not bother about a change/' 

The IT. P. A. S. I, has not been able to do nmch 
.In helping these planters who have splendid scope for 
-expansion and development in the Mysore Malnad- 
It is the opinion of the wiiter that the time has como 
for close co-operation between the Mysore Govern- 
ment and the planters in this matter. There is no 
^.xtradition arrangement for prosecuting runaway 
coolies who cross over to the Bombay Province with- 
-€ut giving satisfaction to their employers for the ad- 
vances received, and there is no satisfactory legisla- 
tion guaranteeing to the manual labourer the living 
^age. A Labour Department should be organised 
by the Government of Mysore immediately (other 
measures may require time and deliberation), 
the aims before which Institution should be 
the following; (1) serving as an employment 
bureau; (2) preventing unhealthy competition 
as among planters in employing coolies who 
are still due to others, by a system of r^B- 
iration of coolies; (3) scrutinising cases of malprac- 


125 

tice with regard to advances, net weekly wages paid,, 
etc., and affording proper justice to coolies ; (4) the- 
organisation of an insurance system for the benefit 
of the coolies; (5) provision of facilities for coloni- 
sation from outside: and (6) encouraging immigra- 
tion from abroad by proper advertisement. 

Agriciiliural Wages in India 

The announcement of the personnel of the Royai 
Agricultural Commision and the declaration by the 
Ceylonese Government of its intention to move for 
the necessary legislation with a view to establish 
standard rates of wages on estates, brings to 
the^ forefront the long neglected question of 
agricultural wages in India. Under any system 
of fair distribution, the wage level — even of the most 
ujiskilled classes of labourers — ^must be determined 
by the marginal efficiency of the concerned labour- 
ing class and the cost of production of that kind 
of labour, that is, the cost of living at the 
margin. In this country, however, agricultural 
wages have hardly been influenced by the 
utility of labour to the employer, the current 
price level of the commodity in the production of 
which .such labour was employed and such other con- 
siderations. The employer has been and is reserv- 
ing an unreasonably big margia for himself — ^thanks- 
to the ignorance and helplessness of the landless til- 
lers of the soil. On the other hand, Ricardo's Iron 
Law of Wages has been having full sway: the cost of 
living of the tillers of the soil has been continually 
reduced by a system of sweating — ^the more 
deplorable because the less recognised. At this 
moment, consolation lies in the fact that there are no 
sufficient and reliable data, and our politicaUy-mind- 
ed leaders prefer to imagine that tiiLngs arc after all 
much better than suspected by a few pessimists. 
The Uttlc amount of facts and figures available is in 


the case of estates (coffee, tea, rubber, etc.) While 
.almost nothing is known with regard to the real 
wages got by agricultural coolies on private and 
small farms, the following typical case must throw 
•some light on the weal and woe of this serf class. 
The employer makes an advance of Rs. 50 to the la- 
bourer: the labourer pays no interest, but is bound 
to the creditor so long as the debt lasts ! He must la- 
bour for the lender whole-time at the under-mention- 
ed rations : two seers of the cheapest local corn (per 
day) with commensurate quantities of chillies salt 
and tamarind; and one duppatii (sheet of cloth), 
one juhha (tunic), one knicker and one humhli 
(blanket) per year. This contract implies eternal 
bondage and single blessedness for the worker: for 
the honest labourer working under such a contract 
the best ideal would be to maintain good health for 
the service of the master. In fact the very absurdity 
of the terms makes many a well-meaning borrower 
take the law into his own hand and break away 
from his merciless master. 

On estates, the supply of labour is invariably 
the business of the recruiting agent, and the presence 
of a third party connotes more danger to the coolies. 
In almost all estates the general rate of remuneration 
to the labour agent is 5 per cent by the planter (that 
is, 5 per cent of the value of the work turned out by 
the coolies engaged through the concerned agent) and 
10 per cent, of the coolie (that is, 10 per cent of the 
advance made by the planter for a coolie is swallow- 
ed, in most cases to the knowledge of the concerned 
<?.oolie). Weekly wages are generally distributed by 
the planters through the respective labour agents, 
and while doing so they deduct instalvnents sufficient 
in amount to cover the advance made, in one sea- 
son. Subtract this instalment and the slice claimed 
by the agent, it happens in lakhs of cases that the 
average wage got per week works at between 12 



A below-Ghat type of a coolie woman, with ber child having enlarged 
liver and enlarged spleen. 


127 

.annas and one rupee net. How a coolie manages to 
puli on with his existence (in many cases supporting 
either a child or an old person), requires some ex- 
planation. Some liberal minded, some fore-sighted, 
planters — specially European — ^buy large quantities 
of the grain which the coolies consume, at harvest 
time at cheap rates and go on selling that 
.grain at cost price throughout the year to the 
plantation coolies. Several maintain small 
.dispensaries for the benefit of the sick coolies, 
some contribute towards G-overnment hospitals near 
by so that they might look after the health of the 
coolie population on their respective estates. 
Valuable as such help is, the bulk of the estate 
'<30olie's woes have to be endured by him alone. He 
has no nutritious food, no provision for continued 
illness, for old age, for increase in the size of the 
family. Desperate attempts are' made by this class 
to supplement the small amount of grain they can 
afford to consume daily, by what they can get from 
i^ature. Where Nature is kind the coolies are lucky, 
where Nature is inclement their lot is very miser- 
^ble. An impossible wage is the true cause for the 
low moral standards that are prevalent among 
estate women coolies. By their own confession, a 
good many of them indulge in reckless drinking in 
'^rder to be able to stifle their appetite !. 

There is a good deal more to be said with regard 
to agricultTiral wages, but what has to be regretted 
IS that the persoimel of the Agricutural Commission 
is not at all promising. India has many peculian- 
ties, but perhaps the greatest peculiarity is that in 
matters of agriculture in this country experience in 
.and knowledge of agriculture in other lands mi^ht 
do more harm than good : local conditions are so sin- 
gular and complex that foreign prescriptions will 
.hardly suit. While there are some representatives 
oi the landlord class, it is a matter for great pity and 


128 

aisappoiiitment that there is no one on the Commis-^ 
sion to speak for the landless agricultural labourers. 
It might be argued that all the Members ''sympa- 
thise'' with the said class, but that does not meet the 
need. At least one man who has the necessary jBlrst 
hand knowledge and genuine S3nnpathy ought to- 
have been there on the Commission. If such 
representation be not given, Government 
and the public may rest assured that the 
truth with regard to this poor, yet vitally important, 
class will never come out in full There have been 
numerous instances in the past where so-called sym- 
pathetic land-lords and even progressive Govern- 
ments in India did not find sufi&cient generosity and 
courage to publish truths about the coolies in agri- 
culture, truths which if they had been published 
should have naturally reflected some discredit on a 
selfish landlordism and an indifferent passivism. 

Urgency for Legislation 

The Gx)vernment of India have of late been 
engaged mth several bills purporting to give labour 
organisations a legal status, and helping them in 
securing from their employers reasonable conditions 
of work and facilities : the International Labour Con- 
ference on the one hand and the altruistic services of 
men like Mr. N. M. Joshi to the cause of labour on 
the other, have been the contributory causes for this 
increasing attention of Government to labour 
problems. But all this is about industrial labour- 
In two articles published in the Times of India of 
June 1 and June 17, 1926, it was pointed out that 
conditions prevailing in estates and gardens in the 
Mysore Malnad were far from satisfactory from the 
viewpoint of labour welfare : the average wage eamt 
by a male labourer was about six annas per day, but 
the pernicious effects of the advance system and 
the malpractices of labour recruiting agents was^ 
shown to be the explanation for quite a large number 


129 


of agricultural coolies desperately attempting to live 
upon between 12 annas and one rupee per week- 
It was f ui'ther shown in those articles how such an 
impossible wage inevitably denied a good standard 
of life to the generality of the coolies, and how in- 
efficiency was increasing among them on that very 
score. This question, though vitally affecting the 
country's economic interests, has not yet had any- 
thing like an adequate amount of attention bestowed 
upon it. A reader of the Times of^ India contended 
that it was futile to talk of a living'' wage for 
the agricultural coolie in India so long as he did 
not contribute in a better way than he did towards 
the produce of land. An extremist journal argued 
that ^^a labourer working in his own country (that 
is India) was in a peculiar sense the residuary 
legatee of the product of the industry in the country 
as a whole in which he or his children might directly 
or indirectly hope to share.'' Such statements 
merely mean that in many quarters the really serious 
condition of labourers in rural India has not been 
properly gauged. 

The recent agreement between the Grovemment 
of India and that of Ceylon with regard to the 
wages and other conditions of work of Indian 
labourers emigrating to Ceylon for work on the 
plantations, however, offers much suggestion for the 
improvement of the lot of labourers working within 
the country. The agreemnt makes it obligatory for 
the Ceylonese Government to safeguard the welfare 
of Indian labourers working in that island in several 
respects: a standard wage level has been agreed 
upon for men, those for women and worldng 
children being at smaller figures: the island is 
divided into three parts and each has been allotted 
a set of standards. There is provision in the agree- 
ment for changes in the standards in the light of 
variations in the cost of living, and each contracting 

9 


130 

GoYernmeiit is free to withdraw after giving- 
sufficient notice (six months) to the other. Rou^hily 
the monthly expenditure per family per month has 
been put at Rs. 50 1-, and the average wage for the 
male adult labourer has been fixed at between Rs. 
21.6 and Rs. 23.8 (different in the three localities). 
The Gt)vernment of India asked for an increase of 
ten per cent, so that the labourer might have a 
margin for saving against sickness, old age, etc. ; but 
the Ceylonese Grovernment have, as an alternative, 
agreed to secure to each male adult worker and to 
each widow with a non-working child, one-eighth of 
a bushel of standard rice per month. Among other 
privileges that will be enjoyed by the Indian coolie 
in Ceylon hereafter, are the right to demand wages 
for standard time days (10 hours each) which are 
fixed at 24 per month, and refuse payment accord- 
ing to piece-work ; fuU and regular payment of wages 
due for every month before the tenth of each 
succeeding month; maternity benefit for women 
bearing children on estates, at Rs. 21]- per week; 
suitable medical and housing arrangements; and 
proper educational facilities for the coolies' 
children. 

It is a matter for regret that this agreement has 
been adversely criticised in some quarters expected 
to sympathise with the labouring classes of India. 
It has been argued that the standard wage has been 
fixed when agriculture (specially the plantation 
industry) was at a depressed condition. The 
standard set up, they say, is too near the actual 
wage level obtaining, and as such cannot be said to 
be much of an advance upon present practice. The 
standard has also been held to be too rigid, no 
adequate arrangements having been made for wages 
. automatically changing with changing cost of living: 
no free passages from and to India, no provisions 
for provident funds and insurance premium 


payments. A firstliand knowledge of rural affairs 
must enable any one to see that it serves 
no purpose to soar in the sky like this 
without reference to actual facts. If in a 
country like England where labour is so highly 
organised, it has not been possible on many occasions 
for the labourers to realise their demands, in this 
country where the agricultural labourers have had 
no status and no hearers till now (and even now) the 
Indo-Ceylonese Agreement should be considered not 
•only as a fair, but as an encouraging beginning. If 
Indian labourers in agriculture could get these same 
(or similar terms) in their coxmtry, it would 
probably constitute the most far reaching reform 
since the days of the Queen ^s Proclamation of 1858. 

Plantations are worked on large scale and for 
that reason it should be comparatively easy for 
the new Ceylonese Ordinance to be enforced: in cases 
where labour is congregated the Immigration Officer 
and his staff would naturally find supervision and 
•scrutiny practically possible. Secondly the economies 
the planters realise on account of the scale of 
ODerations and knowledge of the world market for 
their crops, must enable them to afford decent wages 
to their labourers. Thirdly, the crops grown 
on plantations are generally believed to be rich in 
the sense that the prices reahsed are heavy. For 
these reasons some might contend that what has been 
possible in the case of the Indian labourers working 
in Ceylon, may not be possible in this country itself 
where the agricultural labourers are scattered over 
the whole area in very small numbers, where agri- 
culture is generally carried on on traditional and 
therefore uneconomical lines, where the majority of 
crops are cheap and therefore cannot permit 
terms of remuneration like the ones contained in 
the Indo-Ceylonese Agreement. But, true to some 
^extent as these allegations are, the difficulties 


accruing as a result of these, are not insuperable. 
It was pointed out in the June 17th issue of the 
Times of India that the general law for India must 
enunciate the general principles only, leaving it to- 
local bodies to administer the law in the light of 
local circumstances, through local economic officers 
working under local Wages ^ Boards. Sfuch officers 
would have to be entrusted with both investigating 
and supervising powers. "We have Boiler Inspectors 
all over this country for" inspecting the condition 
and upkeep of steam engines propelling industrial 
machinery. In agriculture it is the poor coolies that 
literally "boil'' — as a class they are to-day subject 
in this country to a precipitating process of sweat- 
ing: it is high time that the Government of India 
should see how far it is possible for adapting the 
provisions of the Agreement referred to above in 
framing a bill for the benefit of agricultural labour- 
ers all over the country • Some of the local Govern- 
ments are busy with plans for passing new 
legislation in place of the repealed Act XIII of 
1859, in Madras they are resolved upon remodelling 
the Planters' Labour Act of 1903. It seems 
necessary that no change should be undertaken that 
does not include the items covered by the Indo- 
Ceylonese Agreement. At any rate, we had better 
wait till the Agricultural Commission has had full 
opportunities to study the situation and give its own 
considered opinion. 


CHAPTER XI 


EDUCATION. 

Need for Reform 

The latest is the bustle about a Tamil university: 
arrangements are in progress at different stages for 
universities in Travancore, Tirupathi, Dharwar, 
Bezwada, Poona, Gujrat and Orissa. While public 
>expenditure on education has been and is increasing 
rapidly, that on university education is swelling up 
at a much more rapid rate. Proposals for reform 
"foy the Sadler Commission and other bodies are being 
discussed, but the new universities are in the main 
a replica of the old five. India is much behind 
•advanced countries in the matter of educatioii, yet 
in almost all parts of the country middle class un- 
employment" is being seriously felt: the Dewan of 
Mysore recently gave statistics to show how power- 
less Grovernment has been in finding employment for 
ihe educated". The popular clamour is for lingu- 
istic reform, but serious-minded educationists have 
Ibegun vaguely to feel that the shoe is pinching else- 
where. A very clear analysis of the situation and a 
practical and thorough-going scheme of ref oun have 
been given by Mr. A. Hydari in his recent Convo- 
cation Address at Lahore- 

The Calcutta University Commission laid down 
that the aim of education in India should be to deve- 
lop character" and ^ ^judgment" and to spread 
general knowledge." In their own words, ^^iust 
^s the main economic purpose of the co-operative 
movement is to democratise credit, a chief aim of 
^educational institutions in India should be to demo- 
cratise knowledge." Training of the judgment is 
quite an integral part of a sound educational course, 
-and it must be admitted that in the university stage 
at least the existing system did and does offer some 


134 

training that waf. Character formation is a huge- 
complex process, and, however attractive the idea 
might look, it could not and cannot be assumed res- 
ponsibility for by the average school in India : this- 
was and is possible at Rugby and Eton, but in this 
comitry where the student ^s life as a whole is lived so 
much outside the province of the school or the col- 
lege, the best that can be done is to dwell upon the 
importance of character formation and give it a pro- 
minent place among *^aims and objects/' 

The chief difference between those responsible 
for the present system and those who are for a cate- 
gorical reform, consists in the connotation of the 
term knowledge. At present, even in infant 
classes attempts are being made to impart ideas 
about the universe, the globe, the continents, the his- 
tory of India, grammar, etc., and from bottom to top 
it is a process of intensifying knowledge covering 
the same ground more or less. The process of spe- 
cialisation becomes more and more operative in the 
higher stages. Such knowledge of a general kind is 
certainly interesting and worth having, but a know- 
ledge enabling the knower to make a living, to meet 
his wants, is much more essential. Our general edu- 
cational institutions have been assuming that for 
this purpose the youth must go to some other courses : 
but such courses have been few and far between and 
entail too long a retention of the learner at school to 
suit local conditions. Again, a fact overlooked by 
many is that a preponderantly large majority of 
children and young men that enter school drop off at 
the close of the primary or during the secondary,, 
course for obvious reasons. And from this point of 
view the education offered in our primary and mid(- 
die schools is neither useful nor liked by the people- 
for whom it is intended. 


135 

The following extract from a Eeport to the Go- 
vemment of Mysore submitted hj the writer perhaps 
puts the case concretely: Raise the economic effi- 
ciency of the villager — ^that is the most fundamental 

thing to be done Parents of the boys have 

^ust confirmed my opinion. At least in sixty fami- 
lies I heard the master of the house complaining 
against the education that was being given to his 
boys in Government schools. Said they : You en- 
gage the boys for the whole day for four years in the 
primary schools and for six years in the 'incomplete^ 
middle schools. We at home give them special treat- 
ment in the shape of exempting them from our pro- 
fessional and accessory work, just because they are 
engaged working all the time with you. At school, 
whatever you teach or do not teach you certainly 
teach the boys one thing — ^to sit on benches 
with minimum physical activity and to 
use the hand mainly for one thing, namely, writing. 
What happens? After the four or six years' course 
the boy returns home to join his parents in work: he 
enters life (as I have already said a very high per- 
centage of rural families cannot afford to send and 
maintain their children in towns for years together, 
nor do they like it). The rough agricultural work 
which has to be done the boys do not like. They have 
lost their respect for labour and consider it as mean. 
Their physiques are weak on account of continfuous 
disuse. They always yearn to take up some clerk- 
ship or some village schoolmastership or, to go to 
town. Such of them that get such places cannot 
maintain themselves with the pittances they get as 
pay. And the climax of the tragedy comes up when 
the ilhterate uncivilised father is forced to send re- 
mittances to supplement the meagre earnings of his 
^educated' son.'' Here is the true explanation for 
the vital defect referred to by Mr. Hydaii: '^The 
productioBi of the country is largely in untrained and 
therefo-re irelatively inefficient bandsu^'^ And if the 


136 

present educational system should continue for some 
more time, the probabilities are that the population 
will become still more inefficient as producers. 

Nawab Hyder Nawaz Jung's scheme has, there- 
fore, come none too soon. He advocates education of 
three classes (not stages)— Essential, Higher Voca- 
tional, and University- Essential education should 
not only include knowledge of the three R's but also 
provide training in agriculture, gardening and cot- 
tage industries (in rural districts) and in crafts (m 
urban areas). The higher schools should com- 
prise a seven year course (as the first class also) and 
enable those students who want more than the mini- 
mum of education, to become more cultured, but more 
than that, to become more efficient in their future 
avocations or professions. University education 
should be for the few who have the bent for research 
or the talent for equipping themselves for higher res- 
ponsibilities. The University should be, according 
to Mr. Hydari, a ^thinking' as well as an examining 
and teaching body. Each of the three classes of edu- 
cation would have a completeness of its own fitting 
the learner to enter life direct. Shorter in time and 
less costly than at present, the proposed courses 
would help in making the ^educated' less discontent- 
ed. Scope for employment would become much 
wider than at present. '^Failures'', the cause for a 
huge amount of disappointment and grief now, would 
then become rare: the Essential and Higher courses 
w^ould be much more wordly and practical than the 
current literary courses and therefore much less the 
test for mere memory. 

For reasons like these, the call of this veteran 
educationist deserves serious consideration by all in- 
terested in Indian education and welfare: ^^I want 
the standard of education among the masses to be 
levelled up and yet at the same time I want to avoid 
the misery of hundreds of failures in the present 


137 

Mglier — secondary and college — stages, and I wish to 
titUis^ the resources thus saved first and foremost for 
the improvement of Essential education for the mas- 
ises, secondly for arranging for vocational or prof es- 
monal training to the number and extent of the coun- 
try's needs in special Higher Schools, and lastly in 
providing the best possible equipment for work in the 
advanced University stage for the selected few 
who have shown themselves fit for it/' 

Secondary Education: Some Suggestions 
At a time when a thorough reAision of the 
secondary educational system all over India in 
general is about to be taken up, and comprehensive 
^committees are being appointed to go into the ques- 
tion, it may be some good to put down a few obser- 
vations. 

A word may be said at the outset on the import- 
.ance of secondary education for the country 
at present. The crying need is for workers — work- 
ers capable of serving themselves, their neighbours, 
their municipalities, and their country. The univer- 
sity-educated commxmity in India forms a 
microscopic minority. Partly on account of this 
smallness of numbers, partly on account of the too 
theoretical sort of university courses we have been 
having and partly on account of a con- 
'.siderable proportion being drawn away by the 
(government for its services, that community has 
utterly failed to meet the needs of the people at large 
m the shape of social service, political education and 
leadership, and economic amelioration. Passion for 
the country, adequate means, even preparedness to 
^sacrifice— all of this there is in ample amoont in the 
country, but what seems to be conspicuously absent 
is capacity to observe and appreciate conditions 
existing around and a reahsation of one's duties 
under such conditions. The acquisition of such a 
capacity and the development of such a sense of self- 
examination and-sfelf -discipline by a suf&ciently large- 


138 

mimber of people who are bred up and live among: 
the masses, and who can understand the doubts, draw- 
backs, and difficulties of the real people, can 
be substantially helped only by a thorough practical 
scheme of secondary education. At present, the 
propertied classes have facilities to work for the 
country's good, hut that class cannot be expected to 
guide the destinies of a people safely. The 
less wealthy classes must put their shoulder to the 
wheel, and this task requires that a huge band of^ 
men and women shall come out of our secondary 
schools, equipped with an adequate education and 
training in the required branches of knowledge and 
work. 

What are the present needs of the country, and 
what is the kind of knowledge and training necessary 
to be introduced in the secondary course of educa- 
tion? Each nation has its own premises to proceed 
upon, its own course to follow, its own aims 
to achieve, and its own mission to fulfil. Social better- 
ment in India requires vast and strenuous spade- 
work. A substantial humanitarian programme has 
to be pursued by proper-tempered and properly- 
equipped battalions. The economic future requires 
self-respecting hearts, enlightened minds, and indus- 
trious hands. The clerical pen has taken the 
life from the Indian's hand which is now but an 
automaton. The political needs of the country are- 
being deplorably neglected: a properly educated 
electorate bearing some appi^eciable proportion in 
numbers to the millions of India is the fundamental 
condition for the raising of the country's political 
status. 

The present arrangement may briefly be review- 
ed. The secondary course, for example in Mysore, 
runs over a period of four years, with two public 
examinations, the S. S. L. C. examination at the end' 
of the first three years, and the U. E. (University: 
Entrance) examination at the end of the fourth year,. 


139 

The following two tables show the variety of subjects 
and their relative importance: — 

S, S, L, C. 
Group A — Oompulsory. 

1 English ^1 

2 Second Language (Vernacular j 

classical or foreign) 

3 Elementary Mathematics, including 

Commercial Arithmetic 

4 Elementary Science 
. 5 History of India, Elementary Survey 

6 Geography of the World, Elementary Survey witfc 
special reference to the British Empire 
Sloyd or drawing 


Public examina- 
tion 


7 
8 
9 
10 


I Lady candidates — first 6 
I any two out of 7,9, 10 
I 1 1 and 1 2, subject No. &• 
being excluded 


Athletics and Games 
Music 

Needle-work and Dress 
making 

1 1 Lace work ^ 

12 Domestic Economy J 

Group B— Optional 

13 History of India and History of England 

14 Elementary Economics 

15 Physics and Chemistry 

16 Natural Science (Botany and Human 

Physiology) 

1 7 Algebra and Geometry 

18 Sanskrit or Persian 

19 v-.ommerce 

20 Agriculture 

Group C — Optional. 

21 Ind ustries 

22 Pedagogics 

23 Trigonometry 

24 Hygiene 

25 Shorthand and Typewriting 

26 Prec s-writing and Indexing 


a 
o 

■*-> 

O CJ 

CO- 

4-* 

o ^ 
a 

< 


140 

UNIVERSnY ENTRANCE EXAMINATION. 

Courses of Study. 

1. English. — Composition, poetry, prose, non- 
detailed study. 

IL A Second language — Kannada, Telugu, 
Tamil, Sanskrit, Hindustani, Persian 
or French. When a student selects 
Sanskrit or Persian as one of Ms 
optional subjects, he shall be required 
to select for his second language a Ian- 
guage other than Sanskrit or Persian. 

UL Any one of the following groups of subjects — 

(a) Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics or 

Natural Science. 

(b) History, Logic, and Sanskrit or Persian 

or Elementary Economics. 

The appropriateness or otherwise of the present 
curricula has to be carefully examined in view of 
observations made earlier in the course of this 
article. It strikes the impartial observer that 
^^English'' is given too much importance. ^EBusi- 
ness'' EngUsh is what seems to be a necessary 
equipment for the average citizen. ^'A sufficient 
knowledge of the English language to be able to take 
part in the proceedings of the Legislative Co-unciP' 
is the literary qualification expected of a Mysore 
Legislative Council Member (Legislative Council 
Manual, p. 26). So the privileges of English litera- 
ture must reasonably be reserved for the student who 
takes a special liking to it and takes it as an optional. 
As regards the aesthetic side of Literature, the real 
'Cultivation should be in post-scholastic days, and the 
vernacular Kterature prescribed must serve the pur- 
I)oses oi an adequate introduction. \ 


141 

The current ''science mania'' has rendered the 
curricula quite one-sided. The uses of a good course^ 
in elementary science to all students " in developing 
their knowledge of the surrounding physical world 
and m developing their powers of observation can- 
not be exaggerated.'' '^This," says the Calcutta. 
Lfniversity Commission Report, ''is that which by 
vivid description opens the minds of children to the- 
significance of life and its environment; which shows 
them by guidance and suggestion how to use their 
eyes; which trains them to observe accm^ately, to 
mark what is significant, to describe in words what 
they actually see, and to draw correctly such infer- 
ences as are within their powers." (Pp. 63-64, Vol. 
IV, Part 11.) 

But to create a distinction by viewing elemen-^ 
tary science as a compulsory examination subject 
in contrast to other more important subjects, and 
to equip the science sections at the cost of other 
equally important sections is ^uothing short 
of unwisdom. Government preferejice and 
possible lucrative lines pt earning persuade 
the guardian to put his boy to science, 
and the large amount of money spent by Government 
on the equipment of science tells upon the imagina- 
tion of the average boy and leads him to science. 
If the present policy be pursued for some time more 
one should not wonder at the virtual extinction of 
non-science subjects by sheer atrophy. 

Of what utility is the costly post-elementary 
science instruction so fondly provided and encourag- 
ed by Government, and so admiringly taken to and 
pursued by students? Whichever side one may turn, 
one sees only three classes of workers who make real 
use of their scientific knowledge beyond the elemen- 
tary grade — ^teachers of science and research 
students in science and people taking to technical 
lines. "But," say? Viscount Bryce (in whose 
passing away the world incurred an irreparable 


loss), ^^such work requires an elaborate provision — 
and an amount of time which practicaUy restricts 
it to those who make it the business of their life, 
and puts it out of reach of persons actually engaged 
in some other occupation.'' The rest have life to 
face before they think of their scientific knowledge. 
A number take up law, geology graduates become 
clerks, and chemistry men become revenue of&cers. 
Even the recommendations of the Calcutta Univer- 
sity Commission are unfortunately rather partial in 
this respect. They ignore the value of practical 
agricultural training in equipping the social and 
political side of the average citizen when they lay 
stress only on the need far industrial betterment in 
the country. It looks as though they forgot for the 
moment the predominantly rural character of India;n 
life. They observe: — 

^^A better secondary education would give to 
the workshops and factories of the futiu-e the 
responsible leaders which they will require. . . . 
A good modern course of secondary education should 
^ive an important place to the training of the hand 
and the study of science. . . . '' 

A publicist addressing in 1897 (when 
England and America were suffering from a like 
science mania") an American audience at the 
University of Chicago, put the weakness of such a 
position in very graphic words. ^^While you are at 
work on the hydro-carbons in the college laboratory 
your curiosity and interest are roused by the remark- 
able phenomena they present. But they do not help 
you to order your life and conversation aright. 
Euclid's geometry is interesting as a model of exact 
deductive reasoning. One remembers it with pleasure. 
A man who has some leisure and some talent in 
this direction may all through Ms life enjoy 
the effort of solving mathematical problems. But has 


143 

anyone at a supreme moment of some moral struggle 
(or economic) ever been able to find help and stimu- 
lus in the thought that the square described on the 
hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the 
squares described on the two other sides thereof? 
Extreme as these observations may look to some, 
nobody can deny the merit they have in revealing 
the value of an agricultural training as an equip- 
ment for work-a-day world men and women. Yet 
in the curriculum of studies shown above, agri- 
culture and industries are given the status of 
optional subjects. 

The instinct for drawing must be arranged to 
he developed in the lower classes, and sloyd, in spite 
of its very ,useful effect in training 'Hhe intelligence 
of the hand/' must be transferred to the group of 
industrial optionals. Athletics and games must be 
.scored out of the curriculum and introduced into 
the playing-fields. Religious instruction must be ex- 
<3l;uded from the class room, while moral instruction 
as such must be substituted by other subjects social 
in character and thus having a good deal of moral 
infiuence. 

The four year secondary course must be 
<iivided into two courses of two years each with two 
public examinations at the end of the two courses 
respectively. The earlier examination may be called 
the Lower Secondary Examination, and the latter 
the Upper Secondary Examination. The former 
course must consist of a set of subjects compulsory 
for all students. The list of subjects may comprise :— 

(1) English (including grammar, para- 
phrase, composition and prose). 

(2) Vernacular (the Vernacular of the 
particular State or Province must be made compul- 
sory, inasmuch as the candidate has generally to 


144 

spend Ms whole life in that partiGiilar part of th^ 
country). 

(3) Elementary Mathematics. 

(4) Elementary Science (including Physio- 
logy) • 

(5) Practical agriculture in rural areas, and 
handicrafts in urban areas. I 

(6) Indian History (with special reference to 
the physical geography and history of the Province^ 
or State concerned). 

Part-passing must not be allowed in this exami- 
nation, all the subjects must be equally 
well attended to with regard to equipment and 
efficiency and the public examination must be in all 
the six subjects. 

The Upper Secondary course must have towt 
compulsory subjects and three optionals. More atten- 
tion must be paid to the practical side in com- 
pulsory subjects. In the public examination each 
compulsory subject may have only one paper, and 
each optional may have two papers, the total number 
of papers thus coming up to ten (the present Uni- 
versity Entrance and Intermediate examinations 
have eleven papers). 

The list of subjects should consist of: — 
Group A — Compulsory. 


Leading to the proper dis- 
charge of duties of citi- ' 
zenship in life 


1 English (composition only)^ 

2 A Classical or local lan- 
guage 

3 Agriculture or a handicraft 

4 The Indian Constitution 


145 
and 

Group B — Optional. 


Leading to science teaching 
or science research work 
or technical professions 


Training the future indus- 
trial artisan agriculturist 
or industrial scientist 


r 5 Physics 

6 Chemistry 

7 Natural Science or Mathe- 
matics 


n. 


Any one subject, from I 
j' Cotton 
I Carpentry 


;}Any 


two of"! Leather 

Rattan- work 
^Agriculture 


in. 

r5 


Training the future specialist 
in literature or philoso- -< 
phy 


Training the future- specia- 
list in history, economics ^ 
or politics 


IV. 

r 5 

6 
7 


Training the future business 
man, journalist or clerk 


L 

V. 

5 
6 
7 


English Language and Lite- 
rature 

Sanskrit or any other 

Classical Language 
Logic or any Vernacular 

History of England or the 
British Constitution 

Economic History of India 
or Indian Economics 

Indian History or Econo- 
mic History of England 


Commerce (including Com- 
mercial Geography*) 
Shorthand and Typewrit- 


ing 

Precis- writing 
dexing 


and In- 


10 


146 

Compulsory agriculture would necessarily have 
to be taught in the local language the use of which 
may be extended to other subjects gradually. 

The plea put forward in these paragraphs is 
that subjects which help to nourish different facul- 
ties in boys and girls must be compulsory 
for all of them in the Lower Secondary'^ course; 
that specialisation must begin only after such an 
examination; that while the optional groupings 
might continue as they are now (with some modifica- 
tions as suggested above), the compulsory group 
must consist of subjects which help to equip; the 
future citizen in discharging his social, pohtical and 
economic responsibilities to his country. Not merely 
cultural, not merely intellectual, but also material 
requirements must be provided for in our secondary 
courses of .education. 

Unemployment in India: 

Functions of ihe University. 

Mr. Rangaswami Iyengar said in the Assembly 
that it had become very difficult not only for failed 
candidates to find employment, but as well for uni- 
versity graduates. There was the growing menace 
of an intellectual proletariat and population 
was increasing at a more rapid rate than production: 
it was the duty of the Grovernment to examine the 
problem through a committee and provide for suit- 
able remedial measures. Macaulay was blamed for 
having prescribed a too literary sort of education. 
But, much earlier than last January several Provin- 
cial Grovernments took note of the growing 
evil and appointed committees and boards and 
bureaus, as for exarnple in Bengal, Madi'as and My- 
sore. Even the Calcutta University Commission 
did refer to the cumulative character of this 
problem, but the truth has been that, numerous and 
ponderous as these boards and their deliberations 


147 

tave been, the country has not been offered a practi- 
<3al definite scheme for adoption and Groyernments 
have naturally been unable to proceed far : mo3;e than 
financial stringency the lack of a clear-cut policy 
based upon an agreed programme seems to have been 
responsible for the continual postponement of 
effective action. 

Now, educational organisation very largely 
determines in any country the facility or otherwise 
for adequate employment of the population. This 
side of 1920 Education has been a transferred sub- 
ject: educational expenditure has beeii increasing 
rapidly, yet those responsible for educational policy 
have always either neglected or let alone the economic 
bearings of the educational system on the country^s 
welfare: intellectual training has been practically 
the sole ideal of our educationists in general. When- 
^ever the question was asked as to how these square • 
products of universities and schools should be fitted 
into the rounds of employment either available or 
desirable to be created, they have always affirmed 
that it was not their business to bother about it. 
"The present dislocation between the demand for and 
supply of appropriately qualified and trained labour 
is entirely our own making: hardly has there been 
over the past decade an educationist claiming to re- 
present popular interests and needs who did 
not co-operate more or less vehemently in the crea- 
tion of a new ^ ^university'', yet hardly any seem 
to have appreciated the necessity for correlating 
the contents and courses of education to the need 
and scope of multiplying the national product. In- 
stead of being a training ground for life our 
educational institutions have been mostly the train- 
ing ground for offices. ISTobodv seriously talks of 
agricultural training for all, but long statements and 
heated debates have taken place on the question of 
compulsory military training. 


148 

Our universities have been — Macaulay or 
Curzon, Sir Syed Ahmed or Brajendranath Seal 
— examining (latterly teaching) bodies manuf actur-- 
ing a progressively increasing number of diploma 
holders, an integral part of the training consisting 
in looking upon Govermnent service as the best (and 
only) avenue of employment.(.So rich a country as 
this with so much development work to be done by 
human brains and hands, has never had such poverty 
of outlook and -understanding in the matter of 
employment, in the history of this world. Two 
reforms are therefore immediately necessary: firstly, 
the university which is the most suited body must 
busy its mind to see what education must connote 
from the point of view of national welfare : not only 
should hteracy and judgment and character be 
provided training for, but the avenues of employment 
possible (channels of production that need to be 
utilised) must be seriously and scientifically explor- 
ed. In Mr. Hydari's words, the university's proper 
role is ''the control and revision and reform of educa- 
tion in accordance with the country's needs. . . 
research and specialisation and also the investiga- 
tion and consideration and solution of the^ 
educational and cognate problems.'' 

What is the population that India's ^^land" can 
sustain at a certain level of agricultural efficiency? 
^0 one seems to have thought of this fundamental 
question, yet people are busy trying to stay in in- 
hospitable lands, trying to mesmerise themselves 
into the belief that^Qverpopulation in India has gone 
beyond the controllable point.' Secondly, the univer- 
sity must estimate the demands for services in differ- 
ent grades and kinds of employment and roughly lay 
down the limits for the numbers to be trained in 
one course or the other. This is being done in advanc- 
ed countries: in England, professors of 
imiversities specialise in studying markets and prices: 


149 

4and index numbers and wage levelsj in this country, 
the elders'' in Economics taboo any such study and 
stick to indulgence in the province of theory with 
no heed to actualities: academic" view of 
Economics (as of other subjects touching the every- 
day life of man) is held as orthodox. 

As a corollary it follows that the head of the 
university must be the member in charge of the 
•education portfolio (as was for some time done 
recently in Mysore), he must be a practical 
'economist and financier in addition to being 
an educationist at the present standards, and 
he must be able to open up new courses training 
men for new 'occupations — ^new to the quill- 
drivers of to-day. The hard and toroman- 
tic problem of the -national commissariat must 
be faced by him and his lieutenants. The present- 
day mania for putting up gilded domes of universi- 
ties on educational hovels resting upon a2:e- 
long crutches must be seriously discountenanced: the 
present policy is not only an infringement of the 
law of equi-marginal utility but a huge waste of 
resources on a system which is swallowing the bulk 
of our educational grants, only to produce dis- 
'Contentment (unaccompanied by an increase in pro- 
ductive efficiency), divorce from national standards 
of living and thought, a particular lack of enterprise 
and optimism. What Mr. Hydari calls ^'essential 
^education" — a course of seven years compulsory on 
.all of the school-going age and comprising 
agricultural or industrial training as well as literacy, 
must be attended to first and foremost. Mr. Hydari 
rightly holds that essential, higher vocational and 
university courses must each be an independent and 
complete course catering to particular lines of 
.employment, so that there could not be any unhealthy 
<3ompetition as among the three. If in accordance 


150 


with the wishes of the Assembly Government are- 
going to appoint a Committee on this question of 
unemployment in India, it must be hoped that they 
will give due importance in the terms of reference 
to the changes that are desirable in the outlook and 
organisation of our universities. 


CHAPTER XII 


RURAL RECONSTRUCTION. 

How the problem Arose. 

Numerous influences have been responsible for 
tbe new angle of vision with regard to Indian rural 
matters. '^Development" work has been under- 
taken on a liberal scale in all British Indian pro- 
vinces with a view to improve the conditions of vill- 
age-life: the Pimjab Government's efforts in 
the direction of consolidation of holdings through 
the energetic intiative of Mr. Calvert, the Madras 
Government order sanctioning Rs. 4 lakhs for start- 
ing four land mortgage banks in suitable places, the 
Bombay arrangement for training and entrusting 
village school masters with medicine dispensing'^ 
work, the all round increase in veterinary hospitals 
— these are recent instances for the increasing at- 
tention being paid towards agricultural needs and 
difficulties. 

A matter for satisfaction as this new tendency 
is, it appears that in the majority of cases the me- 
thods adopted by several governments are not help- 
ful in bringing about a realisation of aims; the ac- 
ceptance of policy is all right but the approach made 
to the problem of rural reconstruction does not seem, 
generally speaking, to promise quick and tangible re- 
sults. The dimensions of the problem, the intensity 
of the required relief, the work that has to be done, 
do not appear to have yet been properly estimated- 
The powers that be have not yet had sufficient mate- 
rial and time to enable them to take to an adequate 
programme. To determine the nature and amount 
of work to be done, it is necessary to see how the 
problem arose. 

In the course of Indian history, conquering races 
immigrated, kingdoms rose and fell, but the village 


152 


economy of the country was always left intact and 
nninterfered with by Mahomedan, Moghnl and Ma- 
hratta as well. If land revenue was burdensome 
and greedily collected by unscrupulous farmers of 
revenue who did nothing for the villages, it was also 
a fact that the village and its panchayat were at full 
liberty to do what they liked with regard to matters 
affecting the village community's interest. Long be- 
fore our Compulsory Education Acts were placed on 
the statute books, many a village had its own school- 
financed and supervised by the locality, answering lo- 
cal needs much better than our present-day schools. 
Village tanks, wells and roads were attended to by 
the panchayat whose instructions were carried out 
by the community at large, and justice in all but ex- 
traordinarily serious cases was administered by the 
village elders. With the advent of British rule in 
India, Grovernment began to be carried on on British 
lines — ^by Acts and Regulations and Notifications ; 
police work, the administration of justice, public 
works like roads and tanks, forests, etc., all fell with- 
in the jurisdiction (not merely for assistance or su- 
pervision, but for actually administering) of Gov- 
ernment by one Act or another. ^^And this exten- 
sion of Government functions spelt the dispossession 
of the village communities of the local powers for- 
merly enjoyed by them as a matter of mamul. This 
dispossession was all the speedier on account of the 
effectiveness of the British Government which was 
much more than that of any previous regime. 

IsTotwithstanding, while the efliciency of the Bri- 
tish Government was thus able ^Ho dispossess the 
swain'' of their right to look after their own local 
business, it proved quite unequal to the task of filling 
up the gap caused by itself. Concretely, the Indian 
Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code made 
it ultra vires for non-magistrates to try crimdnal 
cases and award punishments, but the magisterial 


153 


-seats set up by the British in India are even to-day 
quite unequal to the task of punishing crime ; it is a 
^common knowledge that in many a case the aggrieved 
party suffers the wrong done quietly in preference to 
complaining to the legal authorities, which involves 
the party in a great deal of inconvenience and loss 
of time and money on account of the distance of the 
court from his own place and his ignorance of the 
laws detailing his rights and duties. Legislation 
with regard to tanks, roads and forests never suited 
rural conditions ; the rustics gave up the work for 
public good they were doing before, lest some law 
should bring them to trouble, their corporate spirit 
became atrophied, but the task proved too enormous 
for the Govermnent- Yillage roads and tanks and 
wells fell to decay, and here and there people began 
to set up agitations for Government doing this and 
doing that; in fact, the habit of not doing work for 
the welfare of their own village grew and grew, and 
as in matters of defence, military and naval, so in eco- 
nomics, .urban and rural, the population began to 
look up to the Government for everything. When 
.an M. L. C. was asked by me to give his opinion as to 
the advisability and practicability of startiag a Land 
Mortgage Bank for his area, he solemnly replied, 
' Government know that we are deep in debt. Agri- 
culture is of vital importance to the country and the 
Government. I have absolutely no hesitation in say- 
ing that Government ought to borrow some crores of 
money and lend it out to us interest-free. I know 
that Government cannot borrow at less than 7 per 
cent. But we cannot pay the Government more 
than 2-1 1 2 per cent, at the mosf 

Mysore Leads. 

A truth of supreme importance which all should 
bear in mind at the present moment is that no Gov- 
ernment in India can give any effective help for the 


154 


betterment of rural conditions by measures which do 
not contemplate the co-operation of the villagers 
themselves: for the administration of justice, for 
police work, for the repair and maintenance of tankSy 
roads and wells, for the conservation of the village 
forests, any army of officers and officials will prove 
insufficient unless an arrangement is made whereby 
local co-operation is ensured. Another truth of equal 
importance is that at present the individualistic spi- 
rit which has basked under the British flag for de- 
cades together, will not permit even the out-of-the- 
way villager to heartily co-operate with Government 
agencies in rebuilding the rural structures. 

At some stages an enlightened Govermnent 
must force the unwilling patient to swallow the pill : 
Bismarck flouted the Prussian Parliament: at the 
early stage of the Industrial Revolution in England 
labourers destroyed machinery. Now in 
India co-operation by the people in rural 
economic development must be made com- 
pulsory by laws: benefits arising out of 
it and wide propaganda by legislators adver- 
tising the genuineness of the intentions underlying- 
such compulsion will very soon remove the small op- 
position that may be there : in my own researches in 
rural parts of Mysore I f omid that there was a wide- 
ly held opinion am-ong the ryots themselves that 
Government must compel every villager to do the al- 
lotted work for the common good; in default he must 
pay a fine or an additional cess. 

The attempts of the Govermnent of Mysore to re- 
organise village life fall into three stages : fiirst that 
State tried the step of amputating villages into sec- 
tions and placing each section in charge of one of the- 
Departments of the Government : tanks and roads, 
were placed within the jurisdiction of the P. W. 
aided and private schools were discouraged by Mr. 

R. Reddy and he outlined a scheme of free elemen- 


155 


tary uniYersal education in G^overnment schools 
in all parts of the State in his Educational Memoran- 
dum: forest areas with ^'reserved" trees were placed 
under the Forest Department, and civil and criminal 
courts had long before done away with 
village juries. Side by side with raising 
the efficiency 'of the several Departments 
by strengthening the persoimel, raising 
salaries, etc., the second stage arrived at by Mysore 
was that of ^inviting' local co-operation: honorary 
bench magistrates were appointed for taluk 
areas and urban areas, village munsiffs^ courts 
were experimeaated with, tank panchayats and forest 
panehayats were encouraged to be formed, and subsi- 
dies were offered for the construction and mainten- 
ance of roads, wells, school buildings etc., to local 
communities or individuals. Accordingly local pan- 
ehayats or committees were formed in many places^ 
but experience showed that they hardly functioned. 
Subsides were received but the work was not done or- 
done unsatisfactorily. 

Of late that State has arrived at the third stage : 
no longer is the Government or the Legislature con- 
tenting fitself with mere enunciations, no^ 
longer is it prepared to leave rural matters in the 
hands of officials and local bodies, but it has inau- 
g-urated the wise practical policy of declaring public 
service in villages a duty laid down by law and in- 
volving a penalty. A few of the steps taken are enu- 
merated here to illustrate the point. 

Tanks are the very life blood of the body poli- 
tic in rural areas. In every part of India it is only 
a system of efficient tanks that can assure a good 
crop, healthy cattle and industrious men. The se- 
riousness of the agricutural situation on account of 
tiie present neglected condition of our tanks big and 
small, cannot be exaggerated. The last sessi'on of 
Hie Assembly m Mysore passed a resolution mak- 


156 

ing it obligatory on the part of villagers to maintain 
restored tanks in the village the failure of which 
would involve the payment of a cess which would 
-cover the cost of maintenance by the P. W. D. 
through coolie labour. 

Contageous diseases of cattle must be reported 
by the owner of the affected cattle to the authorities 
and segregation of the affected cattle in pounds put 
up by Government is insisted upon, by another re- 
solution: feeding charges (but no charges for treat- 
ment) must be paid by the owner if the animal sur- 
vives. 

Introduction of agriculture and hand-spinning 
was asked for by the Assembly, in all middle schools 
of the State. In so far as the Compulsory Educa- 
tion Act is being enforced in that State over a wider 
^nd wider area, the element of compulsion indirectly 
comes in even in regard to agricultural education and 
..spinning. 

On the other hand where local bodies come for- 
ward with schemes for improvement in matters of 
-sanitation, communications and water supply, on 
their own initiative, the Grovernment of Mysore has 
accepted responsibility for making grants. This 
measure will benefit those areas which have already 
-got a sufficient amount of public spirit. 

In numerous directions we want improvements : 
Oovernment alone cannot hope to bring them about^ 
people by themselves have no means, no enlighten- 
ment, no eagerness for the common good.'' To 
bring about consolidation of farms, redemption of 
^griciultural land from oppressive debt, 
freedom from unemployment and scarcity 
-of labour — and many other economic re- 
forms, the British Indian Legislatures 
and the authorities in Indian States must have re- 
<course to compulsion as the timely expedient: there 


157 


is no other method for beUing the cat. The Govern- 
ment of India long ago f oimd it necessary to compel 
in conducting the Census of India: it must be much 
more justifiable to compel in order to augment the 
national produce of India. 

The Mysore Village Panchayat Act. 

In these days of pompous glorification of the 
"ancient village repubhes" of India and practical 
discharge of all local functions (though not admit- 
ting all the responsibility) by the executive or its 
agents, the Village Panchayat BiH of Mysore which 
has of late become law should interest and benefit 
pubhcists in aU parts of the country. Between 1920 
and 1923 Village Panchayat Acts were passed in 
almost all British Indian Provinces, but those who 
are familiar with G-ovemment files know that in 
actual practice the village constitutions have, 
generally speaking, no hfe and no growth and 
Administration Reports give facts and figures which 
are the executive's own making. In the case of 
municipalities and district boards a certain amount 
of real transfer of powers of local self-government 
is taking place now in British India, but that has 
been possible after a pretty long period of schooling 
and apprenticeship. With regard to rural organisa- 
tions the matter of fact is that Governments 
remember them only occasionally, and the problem 
is so vast that the only practical way out of the 
dif&culty is postponement. A hierarchy of local 
committees have been set up— each being subordinate 
to the committee of the wider territorial unit— and 
while Governments know .-something of what happens 
in the case of cities' and districts' affairs, they have 
neither the patience nor the means to study how 
the Village Panchayat Acts have really worked. 

The Mysore Bill, on the other hand, proposes 
certain arrangements which, if worked m the right 


158 

.spirit, must result in a kind of compulsory training 
of villagers in the art of local self-government. 
Every village (or group of neighbouring villages) 
is proposed to be looked after by a panchayat with 
obligatory functions (in the matter of communica- 
tions^ sanitation, preservation of public health and 
management of properties vested in it) and discre- 
tionary duties such as vaccination, registration of 
births and deaths, economic improvement, and 
delegated duties including the control of village 
forests, tanks and minor mttzrai (religious) institu- 
tions, and supervision of primary schools. The 
existing Village Improvement Committees are sub- 
ject to the supervision of Taluk Boards which in 
their turn are under the District Boards. But the 
new Bill contemplates the abolition of the Taluk 
Boards' responsibility for supervising the working 
of the panchayats, and vests it in the hands of the 
executive head of the district— the Deputy Commis- 
sioner and his subordinates (the Sub-divisional Offi- 
cers and the Amildars.) The Deputy Commissioner 
vnll have ample powers to enforce efficient rural ad- 
ministration, and will be assisted by Inspectors of 
Panchayats, and the whole system will be co-ordinat- 
ed and controlled by the Registrar of Panchayats, As 
regards finances, besides a tax on houses, shops 
vacant sites and backyards (hiftals), other optional 
taxes, cesses and fees, cattle pound receipts, licence 
fees, fines and sums received for compounding 
offences, contributions from private persons and 
other bodies and income from properties, the 
Government hope that it would be possible to con- 
tribute regularly towards the expenditure of 
these panchayats. 

At first sight the Bill does look reactionary, and 
in fact when it was first read in Council it was bitter- 
ly opposed by several M. L. C/s. sincerely devoted 
to public service and the cause of democracy. Serious 


159 

-consideration, however, wiU reveal the practical 
-statesmanship of the authors of the Bill. The execu- 
tive control is meant to last only for a period: the 
chief merit of the Bill is that the Mysore Govern- 
ment frankly recognise that, apart from sentiment 
and glorification of the ancient past, the social condi- 
tion in rural areas at present is so backward and 
diseased that unless some external support and 
schooling is given for a time— a process similar to 
artificial respiration — ^the village panchayats ' may 
not come to possess local foundations at all. In Sir 
A. R. Banerji's words, 'G-overnment have come to 
the eoncliusion that the rural reconstruction policy, 
if it has to succeed, having r^ard to the present 
■conditions of our rural population, their iUiteraey, 
their general poverty, backwardness and the state 
of disorganisation which has set in and in which they 
now are, cannot have any buffer between the agency 
responsible for the execution (that is, the 
panehayats) and the Central Government, which 
must have a direct touch and the closest possible 
-association with its progress." The second noticeable 
point is that the Bill insists upon the inauguration 
•of local taxation. "Additional taxation" is un- 
j-eservedly condemned in this country, but those who 
remember titie actual conditions of our villages must 
agree that improvement will be possible only when 
local taxes are voluntarily imposed and willingly 
paid by rural organisations and population. ''Rural 
reconstruction" work in India requires much more 
than Rs. 20 crores annually at a modest estimate, 
and it is absolutely no good Government's saying 
that when ''better finances" prevail they wiU con- 
sider" what helps they will be able to give for this 
fundamental work, the viUagers saying that their 
utmost taxable capacity has already been reached 
and "Thou shalt go no further". Local taxation 
partakes more of the nature of fees (for specifie 
Services rendered) than of taxation as such. Thirdly, 


160 


the Bill proposes vesting the panchayats with 
judicial and other powers only at a stage when 
Government get enough evidence to show that 
such responsible functions will be duly and se- 
riously discharged by the rural bodies. This^ 
is a kinder arrangement than the other one- 
w^ere the imfitness of a rural population for 
local self-government is declared on the basis 
of some cases occurring of the responsibilities, 
vested having proved too onerous to begin with: in 
the Mysore State itself attempts till now made for 
revi^^ing the ^^panchayat sense^^ among villagers 
met with comparative failure, but on that account 
that Government is not any the less enthusiastic 
about democratic progress. 

The success of the measure will very largely 
depend upon the actual attention paid by Govern- 
ment to the application and the working of the Act^ 
and the personnel selected for inspection and super- 
vision. We believe that inspectors of co-operative 
societies should be the best set of men to serve as 
Panchayat Inspectors in addition to their present 
duties : this would mean better prospects for them,, 
and a manageable cost to Government specially at 
the beginning. The author of the Bill — ^Mr. Mir Hum 
za Hussain, retired Dewan of Mysore, has indeed 
earned for himself a high place in. the history of 
Rural Development in India. It is a matter for satis- 
faction that the Mysore Government have given 
the due amount of attention to and are about tO' 
adopt a scheme well worth a careful study by people 
in British India, with regard to this all-important 
matter. As the Seal Committee eloquently put it: 
''Our local bodies are the paralytic lower limbs of 
the Administration. That is the imminent risk in 
Mysore (as everywhere else in India) that weakness 
in*^ the lumber region and we must beware lest by 
throwing an Atlas' load of State's responsibilities 


161 

on drooping shoulders we break the spinel There can 
be no constitutional reform in Mysore without 
the reform of the raiyat at the plough. Let 
it be burnt into the consciousness of all poli- 
ticians that unless the people can be shown to 
be managing the Village Panchayat and Council, 
there can be no question of real or realised popular 
government in spite of a hundi'ed Conferences and 
mass meetings. Our first concern then is to make 
village government reaU'- 


APPENDICES. 


APPENDIX 1. 


Th6 Processes of Gultivaiion and Average Expenses of Proa-uciion, and 
yield of-Important Malmid Products. 


After the harvest of the crop the field is plotighed onre and left for 
weathering until next season. Soon after the first showers fall in Aprils 
two ploughings are done to completely stir the soil. 

Sowing. ^'Fmttows are opened with the country plough ahout 5 to 
6 inches apart. About 45 seers (a local measure equivalent to about 
24 tolas of ])addy) of seed are well mixed with manure. This 
mixture is . made . into small balls (about the size of a lime fruit) 
and dropped at regular intervals of about 4 inches. This is done by 
persons who are specially skilled in this woik. The furrows are covered 
with a brush-harrow drawn by bullocks. Sowing is dune at the end of 
April or the beginning of May, i.e. when the soil is moist enough to 
receive the seed. .... 

After 'CiiUivation. — Seeds germinate in about a week, and 4 or 5 days 
afterward*^ intercultivation with the plough is done. This operation is 
done successively 4 times with an interval of about a week to 10 days. 
By this time the heavy rains commence and the field becomes wet. One 
more intercultivation is done when the field is wet. 

In the beginning of July a plank is passed over the field to crush the 
clods and to level the field. Only one weeding is done in the month of 
August. Excepting irrigating or draining off of excess water when heavy 
rains fall, there is no other work upto the time of , harvesting. Roguing 
of wild paddy is done when the ear-heads form. Harvesting commences 
at the end of November and continues in December. Thrashing of the 
sheaves is done either immediately after harvesting or at a later date 
according to the convenience of the ryot. In the latter case, the sheaves 
are stacked on the thrashing floor. 


A nursery is sow with seeds in May and seedlings ^ re allowed to grow 
in it for about 50 to days. The field is ploughed n piddle after appli- 
cation of manure and level W with a harrow. Tit** sterlings are pulled 
out of nursery and transplanted in bunches of about 2C seedlings in July, 
The other operations are similar to those done tor dry paddy (except the 
intercultivation). 


Paddy Cidtivaiion, 


• Cvltivation bp transplanting seedlings. 


Expenditure per acre. 


Es. a. p. 


Ploughing once in summer . 
10 cartloads of manure ; ; 
Ploughing, puddling and applying manure 
Levelling 


2 0 0 

12 8 0 

6 8 0 

0 8 0 


Pt8. a. p. 

Cost of 60 seers of seeds and aursery . , . , . 7 0 0 

Transplanting 200 

Weeding (twice) 800 

Irrigating 400 

Watching 6 0 0 

Harvesting 400 

Roguing 100 

Thrashing 600 


Total 59 8 0 

Assessment (about) 500 


64 8 0 


Income, 

9 pallas of paddy at Rs. 7 per palla 63 0 0 

500 bundles of straw at Rs. 3 per 100 15 0 0 


Total income . . . . 78 0 0 
„ Expenditure 64 8 0 


Balance 13 8 0 

Deduct against b^d seasons etc., 3 8 0 


Net income 10 0 0 


Average net yield per acre of wet land • . • . . . 10 0 0 
Average price per acre of wet land * . . . . . 100 0 0 
Percentage of Net Return • • . • 0 0 10 


Areca Gultioation, 

Note:— 

One acre contains 400 " Dayas " each daya containing one bear- 
ing tree , one middle aged tree and one young plant. 

"Moobagi" Besaya—the 400 Dayas (collectively called 400 traes) 
are divided into 3 equal portioris and " Beaaya " for each portion is done 
in one year. Thus this operation for the whole garden is conapleted at 
the end of 3 years. 

Details of Expenditv/re per acre for poem cvUivation, 

Rs. a. p» 

Cost of " Besaya " got done on. a contract system for 133 


trees at Rs. 10 per 100 trees . . 13 5 4 

Paddy to the contractor for the above purpose 1 for feedi- . , 13 6 4 

Other things to the contractor . . * . J nj? coolies. . 2 4 0 
AppHcation of extra leaves and manure to the portion to 

which Besaya was done in the previous year, ^ 10 ) 0 S 


o 
o 

Rs. a. 

p.8 


10 

10 


Other things for labourers 

1 

12 

u 

-Cost of fencing (on contract) 

6 

0 


Paddy to contractor \ioT feeding . . 

Other things . . J coolies . , 

6 

0 


0 i.*^ 

0 

* Wages for 10 men to clear the drains at 8 as. each. . 

5 

0 


* Wages for 4 men to cut the plantain trees. . . 

2 

0 

0 

* Wages for 10 men to collect and stack sheaths etc. t alien 





5 

0 

0 

Wages for 4 men to transplant Areca seedlings and 




plaintain suckers. 

2 

0 

0 

* Cost of impounding water in the main drain during summ^sr 

10 

0 

0 





2 

0 

0 

* Preparing materials for ** Kottes " . . 

14 

0 

0 

Wages for stitching " Kottes " 

24 

0 

0 


2 12 

c 

Wages for 10 men to tie Kottes 

5 

0 

0 

* Preparing manures adding leaves to manurepit • • 

15 

0 

0 

Nut drying pendal . . 

1 

0 

0 

Mats, Baskets, etc, , ♦ ♦ . • , . ♦ , . 

2 

0 

0 

•Cost of haryesting 2000 bunches at As. JO per 100 . . 

12 

8 

0 

Rice etc, to the men who harvest • . . . , 

3 

0 

0 


35 

0 

0 


15 

0 

0 

Oost of implements 

6 

0 

0 

Olosmg old channels and opemng new ones once m 12 



0 

years (average f dr 1 year) • • • • • • • • • • 

16 

0 


241 

1 

0 


Income Per Acre. - " 

At present, 20 mds of arecanut at Rs. 10 per maund . .Rs. 200 0 0 
* Note.— These' items of work are done by the owner and bis 
people and hence the cost thereof should te deducted. (Rs, 241-1-0 minus 
89-0-0) will be Rs. (162-1-0). Thus actual cost including cash and kind 
spent for cultivation Rs. 1S2-1-0.' 

Income ..Rs. 200 0 0\ tvto*^ -Oo a'j ik a 

Expenditure . . „ 152 1 o| . ^ 

If the cultivation is done carefully 'and in time an income of 
Rs. 350 can be expected from one^re of- garden t then-the net income w ill 
be Rs. 108-15-0. Gardens> of more than^ one -acre admit of economies 
tmder many items yet a deduction must- fee made against Kole roga and 
3bad season Leaving Rs. 13*15-0,-Rs. 95-remain as net residue^ 


A 

Taiing the price of one acre of areca garden at Rs. 1000 this works at 

per cent (Note: — Areca generally pays where the owner personally^ 

works and supervises : this is the reason why such a high percentage- 
of them persist in living by their gari^ens). 

. • Coffee caltivation 

Income and Expenditure for one acre of Coffee. 

1st Year. 

Es. a. p. 

Upset prife on land obtained from Government • , 10 0 0- 
Clearing jungle (the whole jungle is not brought down 
in the beginning but some -trees are left hero and there 

to keep on shade until shade trees grow) 15 0 0 

Burning felled jungle 200 

Opening pits about 1,200 to 1,500 at Rs. 1-4-0 per 100 . . 18 0 0^ 

FiUing the pits 800 

Seeds 6 0 0 

Preparing and .maintaining Nursery 12 0 0 

Plan tmg seedlings .. 15 0 O* 

Baising the shade trees and planting the same . . 20 0 0 

Laying the foot-paths 20 0 0 

Opening trenches round the estate 35 0 0 

Pence charges . . . 10 0 0 

2nd[Year. - 

I>^gging .. - ; . 15 0 6 

Manure 30 0 0 

Replacing coffee and shade plants 6 0 0 

Sundry 500 

3rd Year. ^ ... 

Felling the trees which were left at the begimiing • • 5 0 0 

Manure 20 0 0^ 

Repladng plants 400 

Watching etc., 800 

4th Year. 

Manure 30 0 0 

Digging 7 0 a 

Removing flowers 3 0 0^ 

Pruning 5 0 0 

Watching 1 0 a 

5th Year. 

Digging 15 0 a 

Manure 30 0 (> 

Harvesting 2 8 0^ 

Pruning 780 

Pulping etc., ^ 240- 

Repairing fence p 500f 


5 Us. a. 

6th Year 

Expenditure K7 n a 

7th Year. o/ u u 

Expenditure n a 

8th Year. 75 0 0 

9th Year. 
10th Year. 

Expenditure at Rs. 80 each year. 240 0 0 


Total Rs- ..744 4 0 
Assessment for 10 years .. 10 0 0 
Advance for a coolie tor General purposes.. 100 0 0 


Total Rs. .. 864 4 0 


Deduct realisations at 5 mauiids of coffee 




per year from 5th to 10th year at Rs. 12 




per maund (after making due allowance for 

360 

0 

0 

unfavourable seasons, etc.) - 




Net outlay 

494 

4 

0 

Income. 




Yield from 11th year 15 maunds of coiBFee at Rs. 12 per 




180 

0 

0 

Others like cardamon, etc.. 

20 

0 

a 

Total Rs. 

200 

0 

0 

Expenditure per year 

80 

0 

0 

Net earnings 

120 

0 

0 


On a capital of 494 Rupees (ahout 5C0) the profit per acre per annum 
(after allowing Rs. 50 for unfore seen losses) the profit per annum is 
Rs. 70 or 14 per cent. 

Cardamo n Cultivation . 

Situation, — A vaUey with plenty of shade and moisture is selected 
for a garden where Cardamon is to he the main crop. In coffee estates 
Cardamon is planted on either sides of streams and in moist and shady 
places. It is beUeved by the ryots that the garden should be protected 
from the sun ra} s fallinjj from west and south. 

Soil, — Red loam with admixture of gravel is about the best. When 
the soil is saturated with water or when it is water-logged the excess of 
water is drained off by opening drains at convenient distance depending 
upon the nature of the soil and the amount of water to be drained off. 
The seedlings in such plots should be planted on the lidges. 


6 

Sted and nursery, — ^PuUy ripe and disease-free fruits are selected 
and seeds from them are pressed out. They are immediately rubbed 
against fine ashes. ^ The seeds so prepared are sown in September on a 
nursery bed prepared by digging to the Septh of about 6 inches and the 
soil thoroughly pulverised. Sowing is done by sprinkling the seeds on 
the bed. Then it is covered with mud to a thickness of about half an 
inch. It is then watered daily with spray watercans. All the seeds 
germinate within 48 days. Immediately a pendal is erected over the 
nursery to keep off sun. This shade is kept on till next June. Fresh 
earth and manure is sprinkled over the bed in the month of January 
to about half an inch of thickness. It is handwatered once in 4 or 5 
days or as often as possible, according to the nature of the soil. 

Planting, — ^When the seedlings are 8 to 9 months old they are re- 
moved from the nursery and planted in the shallow pits in the would-be 
garden, that is, they are planted in the month of June and July. 
They are planted in singles when there are many tillirings. The distance 
allowed between plant to plant is 6 feet. A digging is given either before 
or after planting when the soil is rich in humus no manure is applied. 
But when it is poor, manure is applied, at the rate of one basket to 3 
-or 4 plants. 

This crop requires no other cultivation except the application of 
fresh earth and humus dry leaves and removing weeds. It begins to 
bear crop in the second year after planting and the maximum crop is 
generally got from the sixth year. 

Harvesting, — ^Harvesting begins in September and continues up to 
December. 

Gurini. — After the fruits are harvested they are washed in clear 
water and spread in shade for a day. They are then spread in sun and 
4iried fc»r 3 days. 

£Jxpenditure per acre : — 

Rs. a. p. 

Upset price 10 00 

ri'^aring Jungle 20 OJ 

Burning 3 0 0 

Opening pits 600 

^^ursery 60J 

Seeds 8 0 0 

Preparing seed, sowing, and covering with mud . • . . 2 4 0 

Watering for 3 months 24 0 0 

Erecting shade |jendid 10 0 

Pence etc., ^ 100 

^^^t}^g !! !! 15 0 0 

Application of fresh earth and leaves in the first year . . 16 0 0 


• Rs. a, p. 

Weeding 600 

Pence round the garden 20 0 0 

iSecond year's expenditure 30 0 0 


Total Rs. .. 168 4 0 
Expenditure for four years at 71 "Rs. a year . . , . 284 0 0 


TotalRs. 452 4 0 


Yield from 3rd to 6th year after deducting interest on 

capital, 4 maunds 160 0 0 


Net outlay . . 292 4 0 


Rs, a. p» 

Annual recurring expenditure from 7th year 

Application of fresh earth and leaves 16 0 0 

Harvesting 10 8 0 

Weeding 800 

Curing 380 

Watchman's pay for 3 months 30 0 0 

Sundry 2 0 0 

Assessment .. 100 

Supervision charges 400 


TotalRs. .. 76 0 0 


Annual Income, 

Though on an average 6 maunds cardamon is the yield per acre 
yet due allowance must be made for imfavourable conditions and the 
attack of Tvild a-'imals. 
Actual crop realised. 

4 maunds at Rs. 40-per maund Rs. 160 0 0 

Deduct expenditures « 75 0 0 

Net residue Rs. 85 0 0 


Return on outlay of 292 rupees 4 annas is 29 per cent. 

Note.— (1) Cardamon is not grown on a large scale in the Malnad 
Taluks of Shimoga and Kadur Districts but only as a subsidiary crop 
in areca gardens and coffee estates as the ryots think that the climatic 
•conditions of those [Ja -.es are not [avonrabV" to its growth. It is grown 
in sufficientlv large scale in Manjarabad Taluk and in parts of Mudagero 
Taluk which are adjoining to Manjarabad Taluk. 


8 


(2) The above calculations are made assuming that onl^ 
one acre is planted with caida,inon Hence the cost of cultivating is 
high. Bt;tif cultivated on a I^rge scale and the expenditure thereof is 
reduced to one acre, the cost wiU be less. 

^3) The cardamon crop has got many enemies to face. When 
the plants are bearing fruits monkeys, snakes, squirrels, rats and such 
other animals destroy the crop totally unless efficient watch is kept. 
In spite of the watch these animals play their own part in bringirg in 
considerable loss to the planter. On account of this the maximum 
crop and sometimes even the average yield i-* not realised. Thus the safe- 
net crop that can be expected J0^t of fip. acre of land is only 4 maunds. 


9 


• 

§1 

420 
3,000 
197 

5,555 

CO CO 00 I> \ 
• lO Oi I-H 

i-Toi ©4 CO 

22,239 

Tea 

• • o 

• • CO 

1—* 

o • 

CO • 
•-1 

• • • 

• • • 

00 

c: 

Coffee 

CO CO 
CO CC o 

05 c: i> 

rH CO 

13,465 

o 

CO 

c<r • 

cq 00 

^ rH CO 
• 

91,348 

Pepper 


CO 
CO 

O CO CO 

O t> •* • 

00 p-4^CO • • 

3,658 1 

Chillies 

1,500 
3,600 



• • • 

• • • 

5,225 


CO o 

• 
• 

• CO 

• 

•CO • 

1,400 

I Horse- 
gram. 

68 
1,985 
1.500 

• 
• 

2,060 

• • 

6,705 

Togari 

W t- Q 

(N O 

• 
• 

• o 

l-» 

. I- • 
• l-l • 

1.903 

Bagi 

1,206 
17,336 
25.250 

CO 

O O 4C o o 

<M CO CO 
CO »i CO CO 

51,628 

Rice. 

32,094 
27,172 

1 O CkOA 

12,984 

^ 30,512 

CO >0 CO 05 CO 
Tt* f-^ 05 rfl 
CO l> CO (N 

lo c4 c<r 

<M ^ CO CO CO 

267,481 


r 






10 


APPENDIX III. 

Average prices of important Mcdnad products diairig the past 2& 
years annvaUy. 




Arecar 
per 
Maund. 

Paddy 
per 
palla. 

Coffee 
per 
maund. 

Cardamon- 
per 
maund. 

1 

iyU5— iyuo • « • • 

8 

0 

0 

6 

0 

0 

8 4 

0 

36 

0 

0 

o 

lyuo— lyu/ 

8 

8 

0 

6 

0 

0 

8 4 

0 

30 

0 

0- 

o 
o 

1 QA'7 1 QAQ 

9 

0 

0 

6 

0 

0 

9 0 

0 

39 

0 

0- 

4 

lyuo-iyuy * • • . 

9 

8 

0 

■ 4 

0 

0 

9 8 

0 

33 

0 

0 

O 

lyuy— lyiu • • • • 

8 

0 

0 

4 

0 

0 

9 0 

0 

40 

0 

0 

£* 

D 

IOTA IQTT 

8 

0 

0 

4 

8 

0 

11 .8 

0 

38 

0 

a 

rj 

iviii— iyA-<5 • • . . 

o 
o 

rt 

V 

A 

u 


Q 
O 

A 

V 

i<i ± 

lO % 

u 


U 

v> 

Q 
O 

1019 IQIQ 

9 

0 

0 

4 

0 

0 

14 1 

0 

45 

0 


y 

lyio— lyi* • • • • 

10 

0 

0 

5 

0 

0 

14 4 

0 

45 

0 

0^ 

lU 

iyi4^iyio • • • • 

10 

0 

0 

5 

0 

0 

10 12 

0 

30 

0 

0- 

11 

1915-1916 

10 

0. 

0 

5 

0 

0 

10 0 

0 

34 

0 

0 

12 

1916-1917 

10 

0 

0 

5 

0 

0 

7 12 

0 

26 

0 

0 

13 

1917-1918 

10 

0 

0 

5 

0 

0 

7 8 

0 

23 

0 

0 

14 

1918-1919 

10 

0 

0 

5 

0 

0 

13 0 

0 

34 

0 

0 

15 

1919-1920 

10 

0 

0 

8 

0 

0 

12 0 

0 

28 

0 

0* 

16 

1920-1921 ' 

10 

0^ 

0 

6 

0 

0 

17 0 

0 

38 

0 

a 

j7 

1921-1922 

10 

0 

0 

10 

0 

0 

14 0 

0 

56 

0 

0 

18 

1922-1923 

12 

0 

0 

6 

0 

0 

1« 0 

0 

80 

0 

0 

19 

1923-1924 

14 

0 

0 

6 

0 

0 

16 8 

0 

90 

0 

a 

20 

1924-1925 

16 

0 

0 

7 

0 

0 

20 0 

0 

110 

0 

0 


11 


APPENDIX IV. 

The details of areca trad© transactions "whereby the grower gives- 
more than what he should, the mundy merchant recei\es more than what 
he should, of value : — 

1. Per ten seers of areca {Tadiva) the legally 

allowed weight is of E.s. 264 but merchants 
take at Rs. 270 weight per 10 seers \Tadiya) 

This amounts to a difference of one 
seer per maund. 

Therefore per 100 mds. of acreca delivers 
100 seers more that is (at the rate of 44 
seers per maund) 2 mds 12 seers 

2. Labhasere or Thalarash " (per ICO mds.) 1 md. 10 seers 


Total .. 3 mds, 22 seers. 


Or roughly 3 J maunds. 

3. " Seemedharane " i.e., the price 

allowed to the grower is generally one rupee 
less than the market price. Total loss 
to areca grower 

100 X 1 100 0 0 

3i mds. of areca at Rs. 11 • . . 38 8 0' 


13S 8 0 


Ks. 138-8-0 for 100 mds. works at 
Rs. 138.8-0 for Rs. 1100 

Or roughly 12| per cent. 

(These practices are apart from the other one, namely, of the use of 
false weights. But nowadays, many modernised mundy merchants arc 
carrying on their trade on fair lines.) 


12 


>< i 

5 & 

U i 

5- 3 

5? !^ 


Net increase 
in indigenous 
population. 

3,410 


Persons bom 
outside Mysore 
but in India 
(1921 census;. 

rH i-H 

71,618 

Persons bom 
outside Mysore 
but in India 
(1911 census^ 

lO r-i O CO cC t*" 

»><4 fMt f-4 f-4 

85,537 ! 

Population 
in 

192J. 

<^ CO <N ob 1-^ ^co^ ^ ^ 

607,774 

Population 
in 

1911. 

05 "rf CO O CO cD C> CO ^ 

iqo^o^t^cococoocoi> 

Q Cvfo Tjr<D CO CT O -hT 
lO00t*CO»H'^ cOlOCOlO 

618,061 


^ 35 

g g g 

a c S ^ 


g 


-a 


.5 ^9^5 Ax 5 jj'csjd 


■14111-1 lllll 


I 

a 
o 


I 


.s 


I 

I 


n 


APPENDIX VI. 

Thirthdhdlli i^ub Registry Office fiaures:— 


Year. 


1908- 09 

1909- 10 

1910- 11 

1911- 12 

1912- 13 

1913- 14 

1914- 15 

1915- 16 

1916- 17 

1917- 18 

1918- 19 

1919- ^20 

1920- 21 

1921- 22 

1922- 23 

1923- 24 


Land mortgaged with 
or without possession, 
prof-eeds of 


0 
10 

3 
12 
11 
11 


111,295 

91,576 
102,912 
154,661 

85,363 

82,491 
138,448 
152,700 
168,390 
178,257 
263,129 
262,815 
175,313 
190,094 15 

175,172 4 


0 
0 
5 
7 
1 
0 


15 10 
6 1 


2 
0 
12 
4 
8 


0 
5 
11 
9 
7 

11 
4 


107,532 12 10 


Sale of land, 
proceeds of 


107,129 
113,267 
68,215 
117,760 
126,952 
148,188 
157,790 
146,464 
108,214 
178,976 
155,511 
211,177 
189,251 
220,340 
193,169 
181,874 


2 5 
10 10 
9 5 


2 
9 
0 
0 
0 
0 
4 


10 10 
12 2 
14 10 

1 3 

2 1 
0 0 


14 


APPENDIX VII. 

Manjarabad Svb Registry Office figures: — 


Year, 

Land mortgafi^ed witb 
or without possession 
proceed** or 

iSaie 01 land, 
proceeds of 

1915-16 

96,423 10 3 

109,772 0 0 

1916-17 

60,492 14 0 

72,120 10 0 

1QT7 IQ 

*1K QQH 9 ft 


1918-19 

64^07 0 0 

98,659 0 0 

1919-20 

79,786 12 0 

256,568 4 0 

192^21 

136,540 8 1 

166,030 6 0 

1921-22 

120,448 2 8 

236,942 6 11 

1922-23 

86,143 0 0 

94,497 9 8 

1923-24 

109,973 0 0 

183,945 13 6 


15 

APPENDIX VIIL 

Syllabus for a course of Ten Lectures on Rural Economic Conditions. 

LECTURE I. 

Physical Character. 

Bearings of geological features on Agriculture in India. Qualities 
)f soils as determined by. 

(1) Survey and Resurvey and Settlement and Resettlement 

OflBlcers, and 

(2) Chemical, bacteriological and physical examination of 

soils. 

ITaten^Bainfall :(Btatistical information and graphical representa- 
tion). 

Tanks, major and minor, tlieir importance for Indian 
Agriculture. 

irrigation works— productive and protective— historical 
Btimmary — ^their importance and scope. Wells — for 
drinking and irrigation — lift irrigation and its remnnera- 
tiveness — drinking water, its present condition in rural 
areas, how it efiects human health — Government aid. 

Drainage — ^present facilities and impediments — possi- 
bilities of improvement : effects on agriculture and animal 
and human health* 

LECTURE XL 
Land. 

Divisions of Innd. — Statistical information — significance of the pre- 
sent acreages under " Cultivable waste. 
" Fallow " and " Forest " and " Double cropp, 
ed area — possibilities of increasing cultivated 
area — adequacy or otherwise of grazing pas- 
tures, supply of green leaves for manures etc. 
and fjioilities for ryots in forests. 
Holdings.— Cnticism of the available figures .vith regard to frag- 
mentation of holdings — complexity of land tenures 
in Rural India— causes for, the present condition of 
and measures to be adopted for ending, excessive 
scattering of holdings— remedial measures tried and 
suggested. 

Land i?(3t;eiizi6.— Standard and average out-- turns of different grade? 

of land — gross yield, economic rent and land 
revenue, their proportions as compared to one 


16 

another — ^incidence of land revenue in the case of 
different crops and in different parts of the 
country — economic rent and land revenue histori- 
cally — ^remissions. 

Debt-burdened land. — Statistics — ^proportion of debt to value of 
land — history of land mortgage debts. 

LECTURE in. 
Agriculture. 

Vegetation. — ^Forest area — ^forest policy and agriculture — the pro- 
blem of rank vegetation. 

Crops. — ^Present classification of area according to crops — reliability 
of statistics — recent improvements in the matter of new- 
crops, alternative crops, summer crops, special crops — 
food production and food needs , the Malthusian theory 
and the Indian Rural population, 

CuUivation. — ^Descriptions ,of dry, wet, garden and special culti- 
vations — intensive cultivation, its future in India — 
indigenous elements of co-operation in agr cultural 
operations — enslocure and cattle pounds — plant 
diseases and pests, indigenous , and departmental 
remedies, their availability and effectiveness — 
manures. 

LECTURE -IV. 
Agricultural Stock. 

Live-Stock. — Statistical information — the cattle problem in India 
and Malthusianism — cattle breeding, rearing, feed- 
ing — cattle diseases, indigenous * remedies and the 
Veterinary Department. 

Imphments and accessories. — ^Nature and number — adequacy or 

otherwise — facilities with regard ta 
improvements — agriculture, machi- 
nery and power. 

LECTURE V. 
Rural Industries. 

Importance. — ^Lack of information — deterioration, causes therefor 
and extent thereof — extent and scope of large scale 
rural industries — cottage industries — by-industries— 
tl e transport industry -forest industries : tes-^ts 
laid down by the Indian Fiscal Commission, how far 
applicable to them. 


1/ 

Methods,— Economics of smaU scale industry—small scale industry 
and power. 

Size and nature -.elements of competition and monopoly- 
methods of sale of rural products, effects thereof on dis- 
tribution—exports and re-imports— imports and effects 
thereof on the economic efficiency of the rural popula- 
tion — Laissezfaire policy and its responsibility for 
present conditions. 


LECTURE VI. 
Rural Health. 

Disease, — ^Variety and causes — ^maternity and current practices and 
superstitions attached thereto— treatment during thre© 
weeks before and after confinement of women — doctors> 
mid wives, hospitals (indigenous and departmental}. 

Mortality, — OfiScial statistics — diseases and other causes— infant 
mortality, its hugeness and import: is the calamity 
due to degeneration or poverty of food and sanitary 
facilities ? 

Duration of life. — St-atistical information — early marriage and late 
marriage, their bearings on health and numbers — 
feeding qualities of food taken by different 
rural classes — drink and health — housing con- 
ditions. 


LECTURE VIL 
Rural Wealth. 

Income, — ^Economic efficiency — exploitation by profitiers — collec- 
tive income, a prominent factor in rural welfare. 

Expenditure. — Standard of life, should it be raised? — statistics from 
intensive surveys : the size of the drink evil : 
educational expenditure. 

having, — Possibilities of and faeiUties for saving and investment. 

Indebtedness. — Causes for and of kinds debt— productive and unpro- 
ductive debt — crural debts and the law. 

Eeligiovs and social features, — Social organisation in rural areas in 

the past and at present — crime, 
superstitition and marriage laws — 
apathy for pubhc good — is compul- 
sion a desirable method foi giving 
effect to improvements ? 


18 


LECTURE VIII. 

Rural Education. 

Curricula and Tnethods of teaching. — ^Utility and efl&ciency ; the village 

school and its place in rural 
economy. 

LECTURE IX. 

Rural Communieations. 

jRoad versus railway, — ^motor transport versus the bullock cart 

— road policy, how it touches the en- 
tirety of life in the country — ^methods 
pursued for the construction restoration 
and maintenance of rural roads at 
present — ^suggested improvements. 

LECTURE X. 

Summing up. — ^What Governments in India should do immediately^ 
what the rural population should be expected ta 
do and how. 


19 

APPENDIX IX. 

ExtrmUdfrcmtU B^^^ Economic Conditions in iJie Mijsore 
Malnad submitted to the Oovemment of Mysore. 

CHAPTER XVIL 

A Development A:ea. 

135. Observations and recommendations made in these pages 
have been perhaps encyclopaedic. And naturaUy it must strike manv 
readers that it would be impossible for Government, even if they wanted 
to, to take action on all of them, I stand second to none in realising the 
difaculties, financial and others, in the wav of reahsing the numerous 
measures and reforms I have proposed. Therefore it is that throughout 
this Report I have referred to a " Development Area." By this 
I mean that Government should select say. two Malnad Taluks at the 
outset, and with a fat bag of money (rupees 1 .5 lakhs) start off to make 
all the necessary improvements there. By the end of three years this 
area must be quite different from what it is, if arithmetic is not false. 
Then the concentration of attention and expenditure may be shifted to 
another couple or three taluks (leaving behind a small recurring grant for 
the old area out of the usual Mahiad Improvement Grant of one lakh). 
Thus in about 10-12 years I expect that the Malnad taluks will have been 
metamorphosed : I say " metamorphosed " because the present conditions 
are so despondent. Price levels and wage levels have risen and if we 
want permanent improvements, the scale of expenditure should be raised 
substantially : a thing like a grant of Rs. 4,000 for the improvement of 
inter-village and inter-taluk ccmmunicaticns in a District will not 
take us any way nearer the solution of our difficulties. 

156. This idea of localisation of expenditure does not apply to the 
proposed Land Mortgage Banks, the Central Co-operative Sjnidicates, 
the Labour Department and the Motor Monopoly, which should natiu^lly 
cover the whole area of the Malnad. Other measures which do not involve 
any additional expenditure should also be taken up in all the Mahiad 
Taluks. 

137. A cancellation of the present Malnad improvement grant of 
Rs. one lakh a year would probably raise a good deal of undeserved 
opposition. Moreover, some good is being turned out of this grant in 
the shape of hospitals, wells and roads here and there. It also stands to 
reason that while Taluks A, B, C and D are being taken up and improved 
by Government in so many ways, Taluks J, K, L and M should feel all 
neglected (if this Rs. one lakh be discontinued.) It therefore seems rea- 
sonable that it should be left to go on as before. A proportionate amount, 
out of this should be made over to the Development Area (according to the 
proportion of Taluks included within this to the General Malnad area), 
the additional grant of Rs. 15 lakhs being quite apart from what each 
Malnad Taluks should g€t out of the General Malnad Improvement Grant. 


20 


CHAPTER XVin. 
Special Agency. 

13S. Since July 1923 the administration of the Malnad Improve- 
ment Grant has been in the hands of the respective District Boards. 
This may continue, though the general feeling in the villasjes i? that when 
there was a Special Agency for Malnad Improvement things were better 
looked after than now : the scarcity of quinine in many rural parts now 
has made many a villager remember that in earlier years its supply was 
much more broadcast. In one Taluk there was a strong feeHng that on the 
District Board, Malnad representatives were few, and that therefore their 
interests were not being duly attended to. In another Taluk it was the 
other way about: people there said that the maidan representatives on 
the District Board were few and that proper attention was. not bein^ 
paid to the maidan taluks which comprised the minority In 1924-25 
the expenditure incurred on well works in one District was only Ks. 1 ,477. 
The District Conference Report of that District says : " It is hoped that in 
future years the amount sanctioned for well works would be fully utilised 
and authorities concerned would spare no pains to fulfil the objects of 
Government in giving good drinking water supply in rural parts. Thus 
there are 58 well works remaining incomplete at an estimated cost of 
Rs. 23,338.'* Sums of money have been lying idle as village Common 
Funds without being used for some productive purpose. The special 
f acihties ofiered by Government for the formation of large landed estates 
have hardly been utilised. 

139. "Manlad Development" as connected in the body of this 
Report is an arduous task, it requires wholetimers, it rr quires the 
definite fixing of responsibility. Th<* putting up of a Special Agency to be 
in charge of the Development Area (the existing administrative machinery 
to be responsible to this Agency in all matters concerning^ the materia] 
development of the Area) and to co- ordinate the work of other institu- 
tions proposed in this Report, admit of no difference of opinion. 

140. The next chapter lays down in tabular form a summary of 
the various recommendations made. 

Chapter XIX. 

Summary of Recommendations. 

1, Measures which will not cost any additional expmditvr^ io 
Government, 

{a) Allowing discretion to judges to order repaym'^nt of long 
standing land mortgage debts, in instalments, the 
thehistorvof the debts being the basis for their decision, 

(h) Sub-economic holdings to be exempt from attachment in 
execution of decrees by courts. 


21 


^c) The cancellation of the rule that Kan land should not 
be given out to da'*-kha$i dars, 

(d) Abolition of Taluk Sanitary Inspectors' places. 

('.) Compulsory payment of all amounts speciiSed in deeds to 
be registered, to the party before the Sub Registrar. 

(/) The prohibition of real interest receipt or payment beyond 
a maximum to bo fixed. 

{g) The transfer of the Heado 'larters of some of the, officers of 
the Aen^icriltuml and Veterinary Departments to represen* 
tative centres of the Malnad. 


(h ) The mnintena nee of a separate Officer and staff for Boads in 
eafJi cf the three Pigtiicts. 


22 


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29 

APPENDIX X. 

Draft Bye-laws for District Land Mo7igage Banks. 
[Extracted from, the Report of the 1925 Committee on Malnad Improve* 

ment.) 

The DisTBicT Land MoRTGAaE Association. 

Bye-Laws, 

1. This Association sliall be called the District Land 

Mortgage Bank. 

2. The Of&ce of the Bank shall be situated at (district headquarters). 

3. The object of the Bank is to grant loans to members. 

4. Loans may be given by the Bank only for the folloTviiig 
purposes : — 

(i) Redemption of mortgage. 

(ii) Improvement of land or of methods of cultivation. 

5. The liability of a member of this Bank shall be limited to tLe 
value of the shares held by him in the Assooiatioji. 

6. There shall be , shares of the Bank of the value 

o^ Rs. 25 each. 

7. Membership of the Bank is open to every subject of His 
Highness the Maharaj a who has attained the age of m aj ority and is legally 
capable of entering into a contract, to several such persons jointly and 
to every registered co-operative institution formed for long teim credit. 
Notwithstanding anything contained above, nominees or legal represent- 
atives of deceased members may be admitted as members although such 
nominees or legal representatives are minors. 

8. Every member of the Bank must take at least one share and no 
member can own more than 100 shares in the Bank. 

9. Shares are not withdrawable or transferable except with the 
sanction of the Bank provided that no member will be permitted to Ttith- 
draw his shares within 10 years of the date on which such shares are taken 
by him and provided also that not more than 10 per cent of the aggregate 
share capital of the Bank at the beginning of a year is allowed to be 
withdrawn in any year. 

10. The funds of the Bank shall include share capital, loans, depos* 
ts, grants and other mist ellaneous items.y but at no time shall the liabilities 
of the Association exceed ten times the subscribed share capital plus 
reserve fund. 


30 

11. The Board of Directors may receive deposits at their discre- 
tion either from members or others and it shall be open to them to settle 
the terms on which deposits shall be taken provided that the interest on 
such deposits shall not, in any case, exceed 6| per cent per annum and 
provided also that no deposit shall be received for a period of less than 
two years. 

12. The Bank shall not grant loans of an amount below "Rs. 500 
nor above Rs. 5,000 ordinarily provided that where a loan is granted to 
a co-operative society for the use of its members the amount of the loan 
may amount to 20,000 rupees. 

13. Loans granted by the Bank shall bear interest at rates fixed 
from time to time but not exceeding — 

(1) a maximum of 9 per cent per annum in the case of long term 

loans, and 

(2) a maximum of 12 per cent on short term loans. 

14. Long term loans granted by the Bank shall be repayable in 
equal yearly instalments not exceeding 25 and shall not be liable to be 
repealled except under conditions specified in Bye-Laws 21 and 22. Noth- 
ing in this bye-law shall be considered to preclude the borrower from 
repaying his loan wholly or in part at any earlier time. 

15. The loan and the iuterest shall be discharged by a system of 
equated payments. 

16. Loans shall be granted by the Bank only on the mortgage of 

immovable property in the district except iu the case of 

short term loans which may on suitable security be granted for work- 
ing expenses to members who have taken long term loans. Long term 
loans should be issued ordinarily out of share and debenture amounts and 
not out of deposits. , 

17. Loans granted by the Bank shall not exceed 50 per cent of 
the value of the property which is mortgaged to the Bank on account of 
those loans, provided that ia case the loan is to be applied for the im- 
provement of land the amount of loan may go up to 60 per cent. 

18. The land mortgaged to the Bank as security under bye-law 17 
— shall have no prior encumbrances, save the mortgage or mortgages 
to be redeemed by the loan given by the Bank. Further, it shall not be 
made subject to any subsequent encumbrances either by way of further 
mortgages, sale, gift or otherwise to any one except the Bank and except 
with the previous sanction of the Board of Directors, and any encumbrance 
made in contravention of this bye-law shall be invalid. 

19. The mortgage shall be without possession, subject to the con- 
dition that if the mortgagor fails to pay principal and interest according 
to his contract, the Bank shall be entitled to take possession of the land 


31 

for such terni not exceeding twenty years as the Board of Directors may 
consider equitable. During possession, the Bant will manage the pro- 
pertv and after deductina^ expenses nse the proceeds towards redemption 
of the debt. 

20. The valuation of the properties offered as security for loans 
shall be made by the Bank in accordance v-ith subsidiary rules to be 
framed in that behalf. 

21 ♦ Loans are liable to be recalled : — 

(1) if after the grant of a loan the information obtained regard 
ing the property, the charges thereon or the rights of disposal thereof is 
found to be incorrect 

(2) if a loan is utilised for a purpose different from that for 
which it was granted, 

(3) if the property on which it is secured has in the opinion of 
the Bank deteriorated in value and the borrower fails to .furnish addi* 
tional security to the satisfaction of the Bank, 

(4) if on the death of the borrower or in the case of joint debtors 
on the death of any one of them his legal representative does not conseiit 
to continue as a Member, 

(5) if for any other reason, the debtor or in the case of joint debtors 
a>iiy one of them ceases to be a Member, 

(6) if the debtor makes default in the payment of any instalment 
on the due date. 

22. If in any case not expressly provided for above, the Board of 
Directors consider that a debt is in danger, they shall recall the loan 
with, the approval of the Registrar of Land Mortgage Banks. 

23. When a loan recalled by the Board of Directors is not repaid 
within three months from the date of recall, the Directors shall apply for 
a foreclosure of the mortgage to the B egistrar of Land Mortgage Banks 
who after notice to the defaulting debtor and necessary enquiry will 
have power to order such foreclosure. The Begistrar may order distraint 
of movables in the case of short loans. These or«lers shall have the same 
effect and sh all be executed in the same manner as if passed by a competent 
Civil Court. 

24. Subject to bye-law 10 the Bank may raise loans from time to 
time by issue of debenture bonds bearing interest not exceeding 
7 per cent per annum and hable to be redeemed at such period not 
exceeding 25 years as may be prescribed by the Bank. 

25. Debenture bonds shall not be issued except with the previous 
sanction of the Government and they shall be in such form and contain 
such covenants and provisions as the Bank, may, with the previous 
sanction of Government, prescribe in this behalf. 


o2 

26. The Bank shall draw for redemption by lot as many debenture 
bonds as its jSjiancial condition permits, or if tlie Bank deems it prefer- 
able, it may repurchase its bonds instead of drawing them by lot. 

27. The Bank shall be at liberty to effect a reduction in the rate of 
interest payable on any series of debenture bonds provided that option 
is given to the holders of such bonds to accept payment in cash at par 
value. 

2S. The Government shall appoint a trustee whose duty shall be 
to see that the Bank fulfils its obhgations to the debenture-holders. 
Por this purpose, the Baixk shall transfer to the trustee its rights in the 
mortgases on the security of which debentures are issued. The trustee 
shall haJve power to require the Bank to credit to an account opened in 
his name, in such Bank as may be approved for the purpose by the 
Government, all recoveries made from members of the Bank under any 
of the mortgages whether on redemption or upon sale under any power 
of sale applicable thereto. He shall also have the following powers: — 

(i) to invest or to require the Bank to invest the money at the 

credit of his account in his own name in any im estn'cnt or 
deposit authorised by clauses (c) (L) and ('/) of section 32 
of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Regulation or in any 
other SecTirities approved by the Registrar of Land Mortgage 
Banks and to vary such investments at his flisoretion ; 

(ii) to require the Bank to redeem any or all of the debentures; 
(lii) to determine the method of redeeming any debentures before 

the expiry of the term for which they were issued ; and 
(i v) to proceed against the bank or the mortgagors whose mort^rage 
deeds have been transferred to him or against both, in 
case of default of payment of moneys due to the deben- 
ture-holders. 

The trustee can, at any time, be replaced by another trustee, a 
trustee so appointed shall, as the successor in interest of the trustee 
whom he replaces, inherit all his powers and rights. 

29. The total value of debentures, actually in circulation at any 
time must not exceeed the total value of the mortagage bonds and other 
assets assigned by the Bank to the trustee and held by him. 

30. The administration of the Bank shall be vested in the f oUowin g; — 

(1) Board of Directors. 

(2) Board of Supervision: and 

(3) The General body of the members of the Bank. 

31. The ultimate authority in all matters relating to the adminis- 
tration of the Bank shall be the general body of the members who shall 
meet from time to time and at least once a year to conduct the work of 
the Bank. The following among other matters shall be dealt with by 
the general body : — 


33 

(i) The election and removal of their representatives on the 

Board of Directors and the Board of Supervision, 

(ii) The annual report due to the Registrar of Land Mortgage 

Banks. 

(iii) The Registrar's annual audit order. 

(iv) The amendment or re|-eal of any existing bye-laws or the 

enactment of a new bye-law. 

(v) The explusioii of a member. 

(vi) The consideration of any complaint which any individual 

member may prefer against the Board of Directors or 
the Board of Supervision, 
(vii) The returns that may be prescribed by the Government* 

32. A meeting of the general body of the members may be conven- 
ed whenever necessary for the conduct of the business by the Board of 
Directors and shall be so convened by the Board of Directors at the request 
of 15 or more members or at the instance of the Registrar. 

33. The Members of the Board of Directors and of the Board of 
Supervision will consist of Members of the Bank and representatives of 
Debenture Holders provided that the Government of His Highness 
the Maharaja of Mysore shall have the right to nominate two persons to 
the Board of Supervision and one to the Board of Directors, whether 
members of the Bank or representatives of Debenture Holders or other 

84. The Board of Directors shall consist of seven members four of 
whom shall be elected by the Members, two will be representatives of 
Debenture Holders selected by Government and one will be nominated by 
the Government of Mysore, all the Members holding office for a period of 
two years. 

35. The Board of Supervision shall consist of seven members three 
of whom shall be elected, by the members, two will be representatives of 
Debenture Holders selected by Government and two will be nominated 
by the Government of Mysore, all the Members holding office for a period 
of three years. 

36. The Board of Directors shall administer and conduct the afiPairs 
of the Bank, prepare and issue aggreements, declarations etc., 
represent the Bank by one of its members selected for that purpose at 
all legal proceedings." It shall also appoint, control, and disn^iss 
officials like book-keepers, cashiers, clerks, local agents, etc. 

37. The Board of Supervision shall have general control and sup- 
ervision over the affairs of the Bank. Tn particular it will— - 

(1) cause the accounts of the Bank to be audited at least twice 
a year by two of its members. 

(2) present to the General Meeting a statement of accounts ; 

(3) prepare all necessary subsidiary rules for the carrymg out of 
these bye-laws ; 


34 


(4^^ settle the princitJes o£ land valuation 

(5) authorise the issue by the Board of Management of mortgage 
bonds subject to the provisions of bye-law 25 and 

(6) decide appeals against the decisions of the Board of Directors. 

38. Without prejudice to the powers which may be vested in him 
by the Law for the time being in force the Registrar of Land Mortgage 
Banks wUl have power — 

(1) to require the summoning of a General Meeting 

(2) to be preseTit at the proceedings of the General meeting as 
well as at the meetings of the Board of Management and the Board of 
Supervisioii ; and 

(3) to inspect the books and cash balance of the Bank at 
any time. 

(4) to summon any member or office bearer of a Bank for the 
purpose of an enquiry into the affairs of the Bank, Por this purpose he 
wi]l act as a Court. 

39. The previous sanction of the Government will be necessary for — 

(1) the issue of debentures; 

(2) the conversion of one class of debentures into another class 
bearing a different rate of interest or 

(3) the investment of collections made out of loans given to 
Members in fresh loans to Members. 

40. Deputy Comrnissioner of the District will have in respect 
of the affairs of the Bank the powers vested in the Beyi^trar m 
Clauses 2 and 3 of bye-law 38. 

4L The accounts of the Bank shall be audited at least once a year 
by a duly certified auditor or by an officer deputed by the Mysore 
Government. 

42. All other matt-ers concerning the organisation and the work- 
ing of the Bank as well as the remuneration, if any, which the Board 
of Management, the Board of Supervision, the local agents and 
the auditors are to receive shall be fixed by Regulations to be framed by 
the Bank. 

The Regulations shall require the approval of the Government of 
of Mysore. 

43. A Reserve Fund shall be formed by the Bank. To this shall 
be catried — 

(1) a sum not less than 10 per cent of the net profits of every year ; 

(2) the interest on the capital of this fund ; 

(3) amounts not claimed • and 

(4) produce of drawn and expired mortgage bonds. 

(5) Any other fimd which may be credited to the reserve 
fund by the general body of members. 


Printed at 
The Indian Daily Mail 
24-26. Dalai Street, Fort, BomViay.